Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics

Economy in Brief: 2021

    • The Chicago Business Barometer rose in December, picking up again after November's decline.
    • Inventories hit a 4-year high as firms are stockpiling to get ahead of supply-chain disruptions.
    • The employment index dipped again in December.
    • Initial claims 4-week average lowest since 1969.
    • Continued claims in regular programs down almost 66% from a year ago.
    • Insured jobless rate 1.3%, lowest since 1.2% in March 2020.
    • Decrease reverses some of prior month's advance.
    • Sales weakest in Midwest, which had been strongest in October
    • Widely spread decline in exports.
    • Widely spread increase in imports, led by industrial supplies.
    • Gains are smaller than in the spring.
    • Monthly house prices range is wide.
    • In East South Central and Pacific regions, prices accelerated noticeably.
    • Gasoline prices slipped two cents per gallon for seventh consecutive weekly decline.
    • Crude oil prices rose to highest level in four weeks.
    • Natural gas prices increased for second week.
  • Both headline and manufacturing IP trends show steady growth acceleration from 12-months to six-months to three-months. One year ago, both overall IP and manufacturing IP were imploding, falling at a rate of 3.5% to 4% over the previous 12-months.

    Two months into the third quarter (quarter-to-date; QTD) trends for IP are mixed. Manufacturing IP is advancing in the QTD at a 1.7% annualized rate. However, overall IP is falling at a 1.4% annualized rate. There is still a good deal of slack in the system as overall and manufacturing IP are still some eight percentage points below their respective past cycle peaks.

    Despite the strength in the sequential growth rates taking growth back farther to just before Covid struck the global economy, overall Japanese IP is lower by 0.8% than it was in January 2020. Manufacturing output is lower by 1.4%.

    Product group trends Consumer goods, investment goods, and intermediate goods output all increased in November. Consumer and intermediate goods output both rise strongly for two months running. Output in each of the three sectors fell in September with consumer goods and intermediate goods output both down sharply in September.

    Consumer goods trends show output in an accelerating mode from 12-months to six-months to three-months. Intermediate goods show strength but stop just short of posting a sequential acceleration. Investment goods trends lag the trends of the other sectors. In the QTD only consumer goods among the manufacturing sectors show an output increase with intermediate goods and investment goods output still slipping in the evolving quarter.

    Mining and utilities both show more weakness than the manufacturing sectors. Both mining and utilities show declines in November. Mining declines over 12 months, six months and three months while utilities decline on two of those three horizons. On a QTD basis, however, both mining and utilities are rising in Q4.

    The product trends show mostly weakness compared to levels achieved in January 2020. Utilities usage is the exception as it is higher by two percentage points from that mark; investment goods output is another minor exception as output there is higher by one half of one percentage point (over 22-months…) with all other product groups showing net declines on the horizon.

    Japan's IP jumped in November, rising strongly for the second month running after logging a steep drop in September.

    • General business activity at a three-month low but company outlook at a four-month high.
    • Production slips, still showing solid output growth.
    • Current new orders growth down slightly but still at an elevated level.
    • Current employment at an eight-month high, showing robust employment growth.
    • Price received ticks up, but price paid falls to a nine-month low.