Tuesday, April 6, 2010

March Leading Economic Indicators

- by New Deal democrat

With one exception that should not materially change the result, the Leading Economic Indicators are now known for March. It looks like it will be another decent month. Here's the list:

The yield curve is still positive +0.38
Aggregate hours in manufacturing went back up sharply +0.30
Building permits turned positive again +0.12
ISM deliveries up +0.08
Durable goods' orders grew +.0.08
Jobless claims turned positive, +0.08
Stocks' 3 month performance is up smartly +0.06

Real M2 looks like it has gone negative again, -0.20
Consumer sentiment deteriorated again -0.02

Consumer nondurables ??????

Bottom line: it looks like March Leading Economic Indicators will net about +0.8, the eleventh positive reading in a row. This is a welcome increase after February's just-barely-positive number.

Remember the timing: positive LEI leads to positive GDP leads to job growth. Now that we have turned the corner on all three, the continuing positive LEI should mean continued positive GDP and jobs. Economic growth will almost certainly extend through the second quarter, but be more tepid than the 9 months from July 2009 through March 2010. Job growth should also continue, although a negative outlier (ex-census hiring) in this noisy series can't be ruled out.

On the other hand, the storm cloud I saw in the distant horizon for the second half of this year is getting closer and looking more ominous. More on that (hopefully) later this week.