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Is The U.S. Economy Booming? April 2018 Update

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by: The Angry Bear

By New Deal democrat

Back in January, I asked if the economy was “booming.” There’s no official definition, but based on my recollection of the two periods I have lived through that felt like booms, the 1960s and late 1990s, the two times in my life that the feel of an economic boom was palpable, I answered in the negative. I considered a number of indicators of well-being, to see what stood out in those two periods, and concluded that

The five markers of an economic Boom are the following:

1. An unemployment rate under 4.5%
2. YoY industrial production growth of at least 4%
3. YoY real wage growth of at least 1%
4. YoY real aggregate wage growth of at least 4%
5. Increasing YoY inflation.

In January, only the first and last markers were present. Let’s update now that the first quarter is over.

Unemployment rate under 4.5%

This remains at 4.1%

YoY industrial production growth of at least 4%

Due to the big surge of 1% in February alone, this is now over 4% YoY:YoY real wage growth of at least 1%

Real wage growth is up just barely above zero, at +0.1%.

YoY real aggregate wage growth of at least 4%

This has been decelerating.

Increasing YoY inflation.

Inflation was increasing in January, and has continued to increase since. The bottom line is that, while the economy might feel like it is booming on the production side, it isn’t booming at all on the worker/consumer side.