Economy Still Plodding Along
Economically, as you know, my views haven’t changed since 2009. We are living the “typical” post financial crisis recovery with sub par growth and stubbornly high unemployment that sometimes teases on the upside and terrifies on the downside. Until we get to the other side of the next recession, I believe it will continue this way.
I often share two of my favorite and off the beaten path indicators to look for clues as to the direction of the economy. They are both very volatile but target different groups. The Restaurant Performance Index (below) is very much how middle America behaves. From the depths in 2009, it took an awful lot of time and energy just to get back to the neutral reading of 100. As you can see now, it has been very strong this year and I would not become concerned until it hit 99 again.
The other indicator I enjoy watching is the Architecture Billings Index which gives us an idea of the commercial market. Currently in rally mode, I expect that to continue at least until the clowns in Washington start posturing about the debt ceiling again. I would not be too concerned until we see a reading under 46.