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Charts Implying Economic Weakness - June 2018

Ted Kavadas profile picture
Ted Kavadas


  • U.S. economic indicators are depicting a broad range of readings.
  • Many economic measures are depicting or implying weak growth or outright contraction.
  • Numerous highly worrisome economic trends persist.

Please note: This is the latest in a series of articles, the last being "Charts Implying Economic Weakness - May 2018."

U.S. Economic Indicators

Throughout this site, there are many discussions of economic indicators. At this time, the readings of various indicators are especially notable. This post is the latest in a series of posts indicating U.S. economic weakness or a notably low growth rate.

While many U.S. economic indicators - including GDP - are indicating economic growth, others depict (or imply) various degrees of weak growth or economic contraction. As seen in the June 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey, the consensus (average estimate) among various economists is for 2.9% GDP growth in 2018. However, there are other broad-based economic indicators that seem to imply a weaker growth rate.

As well, it should be remembered that GDP figures can be (substantially) revised.

Charts Indicating U.S. Economic Weakness

Below is a small sampling of charts that depict weak growth or contraction, and a brief comment for each.

Total Federal Receipts

"Total Federal Receipts" growth continues to be intermittent in nature since 2015. As well, the level of growth does not seem congruent to the (recent) levels of economic growth as seen in aggregate measures such as Real GDP.

"Total Federal Receipts" through May had a last value of $217,075 Million. Shown below is displayed on a "Percent Change From Year Ago" basis with value -9.7%, last updated June 12, 2018:

Monthly Treasury Receipts Percent Change From Year Ago

source: U.S. Department of the Treasury. Fiscal Service, Total Federal Receipts [MTSR133FMS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed June 13, 2018:

Total Federal Receipts

Underperformance Of Consumer Staples Stocks

In the March 23, 2017 post ("'Hidden' Weakness In Consumer Spending?"), I wrote of various indications that consumer spending may be (substantially) less than what is depicted by various mainstream indicators, including overall

This article was written by

Ted Kavadas profile picture
I believe that our economic situation is vastly misunderstood. The future adverse consequences of this misunderstanding can not be understated. It is for this reason that I write about our economic condition, with a focus toward (economic) Sustainable Prosperity and the future economic condition of the United States. As for my background: I have investment experience dating back to 1988. This includes advanced knowledge and experience in equities, options, futures, futures options, forex, and economic research. Much of what is written in this site is a corollary to the analytical and modeling work I do, and have done, concerning the financial markets. I also have corporate experience. This includes Finance, Pricing, Strategy, Business Analysis and Business Planning; and various aspects of Marketing Management. My education includes an MBA from University of Chicago and an Undergraduate Degree (B.S.) in Business from Indiana University. Prior publishing credits include Barron’s, Director’s Monthly, and a contributor to the book “The Art of M&A Integration.”

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Comments (2)

Im late here, but this is a great article. Thanks
Since 2008, the only times that real wages (as measured by the US BLS Employment Cost Index, including wages and benefits) were strong were in 2009 and 2015. The first time was when there was outright deflation (according to the official CPI); and the second time was after the steep decline in the oil price after 2014.

And, the overall trend is that real wage growth has been declining (when using the Employment Cost Index deflated by the CPI).
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