St. Louis Fed President Bullard made a remark the other day that consumers are healthy so a recession is unlikely.
Consumers are healthy? It is true that the US U-3 uemployment rate is low (3.6% versus 14.70% in April 2020 thanks to government shutdowns over Covid). But even though unemployment is low, consumer sentiment is at its lowest point since 1977.
Generally, consumer sentiment is high when unemployment is low, but not this time around. Currently, inflation is at the highest level since March 1980 even though consumer sentiment bottomed-out in April 1980.
Here is my chart showing that REAL average hourly earnings growth YoY is negative and getting worse, hardly a sign of “healthy consumers.”
Of course, rising gasoline and diesel prices have risen dramatically since 2021, but are declining slightly thanks to the global economic slowdown (read “lower demand”).
And a M2 Money Stock (green line) declined, US rents (blue line) declined as well.
We are truly living in Birdland. As in bird-brain land.
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