On The Economy, Breathe Easy: It's Still On Autopilot

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by: Hale Stewart

By New Deal democrat

While there has been some nearly nuclear powered political drama in the last two weeks (and I supported Bernie Sanders last year, so that should tell you everything you need to know about my political opinions about that), the opposite is true about the economy. It remains on no-drama autopilot. Absolutely nothing has happened to change the trajectory it has been on since a year ago.

In that regard, let me remind you that for a few months, the Doomers were trumpeting the differences between the "soft data" like confidence surveys and the diffusion indexes of the regional Feds and the ISM, vs. the "hard data" of sales, income, and more than anything else industrial production.

Well, last month the various components of industrial production all moved in lockstep for once. Here's manufacturing:

That's a very nice uptick! And, here's mining and utilities:

Mining continues its rebound, and for once, utilities weren't hugely volatile.

And, here's real personal income:

Steady as she goes there.

And, here are real retail sales:

Consumers continue to increase spending.

About the only stall in the "hard data" is in the broader total business sales:

Manufacturers' and wholesalers' more volatile sales (a surge, then a stall) are the big culprits here:

Certainly not nirvana given continued subdued wage growth as well, but by no means, a fragile flower on the verge of implosion.

So for now, breathe easy about the economy. It remains on autopilot, set to "steady as she goes."