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Short-term indicators suggest the US economy is doing OK for now [ClearOnMoney]
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Short-term indicators suggest the US economy is doing OK for now

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Commentary

Short-term indicators suggest the US economy is doing OK for now

3 Nov 2013 by Jim Fickett.

A couple weeks ago the Census Bureau released construction spending data through August. Though somewhat out of date, these data suggest that in one sector of the economy that generally reflects economic conditions very quickly, the US is not doing badly:

(Note that public construction spending has been in a downtrend since the financial crisis and, more generally, the Financial Times notes that gross investment by all government sectors combined is the lowest since the post-WWII period. Nevertheless, total construction spending is growing at a healthy clip.)

The most recent release of the US index of industrial production shows year-over-year growth at 3.2%, which is quite close to the long-term average.

And the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index, which is a rapidly-responding indicator of overall economic conditions, is also at a level indicating normal growth.

Overall there is no indication of a slowdown in the economy.

On the other hand, one must note that the most common error in economic analysis is to mistake the effects of easy credit with those of solid growth. And right now we have unprecedented global credit creation. So for now we have decent growth, but it is built on a soft foundation, and I don't think it would take much to change the situation quite drastically.