U.S. Outlook: The hard vs. soft data conundrum revisited

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

U.S. economic indicators have been throwing off mixed messages.

Graph comparing hard and soft data of US Economic Surprise Index

In this week’s report we show how truly unusual the current divergence between “soft” data surprises and the “hard” data surprises really is.

For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on April 14.

Key observations:

  • It may be too late to expect much of any bounce in the hard data indexes from the burst of confidence since November.
  • Confidence measures could correct lower in the months ahead rather than for the U.S. economy to see a strong acceleration in growth.
  • Our GDP growth estimate for Q1 slipped below 1.0% annualized this week.
  • We are currently forecasting a below-consensus rebound in GDP growth in Q2 of 2.4%.

Click here to read my full report.

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U.S. Outlook: Job growth slips in March

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist
Graph showing parallel declines in unemployment rate and U6 unemployment rate.

While the headline number was a disappointment, the details in the report revealed underlying labor market strength and momentum.

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U.S. Outlook: Are confidence gains becoming delusional?

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist
Graph showing recent rise in consumer confidence

Alan Greenspan coined the phrase “irrational exuberance” to describe the disconnect between stock market gains and economic fundamentals in the late 1990s. Is it time to use the phrase again? For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on March 31. Key observations: […]

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U.S. Outlook: Where there is smoke, is there fire?

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist
Busy street view of US Capitol from a few blocks away.

There has been much activity in Washington unrelated to tax reform from congressional hearings on Russian entanglements to a delayed House vote on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Risks that the new administration and Congress could get side-tracked from their tax cut, infrastructure, and deregulation agenda are on the rise. For more on […]

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U.S. Outlook: Interest rate normalization is ‘hurry up and wait’

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist
Graph showing recent downward trend in consumer spending.

“Hurry up and wait” pretty well describes the state of monetary policy today as the Fed goes further down the path of interest-rate normalization. With the March rate hike decision, the FOMC, in my opinion, took the opportunity to fire a shot across the bow against rapidly tightening labor markets, rising consumer inflation, and stock […]

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