Friday, November 28, 2014

Possible Headline for Next Friday: "Best Year for Employment since the '90s"

by Bill McBride on 11/28/2014 03:05:00 PM

As of the October BLS report, the economy has added 2.225 million private sector jobs, and 2.285 million total jobs in 2014.

The consensus is the economy will add another 220 thousand jobs in November (215 thousand private sector jobs).   If that happens, 2014 will be the best year for private employment since 1999.

Here is a table showing the best years for nonfarm employment growth since 1995. To be the best year since the '90s, the economy needs to add an additional 222 thousand total nonfarm jobs. This could happen in the November report to be released next Friday, December 5th or in the December employment report to be released in early January.

This is happening with only 60 thousand public sector jobs added so far this year.  For comparison, there were 186 thousand public sector jobs added in 2005

Top Years Since 1995
Change in Nonfarm Payrolls per Year (000s)
YearTotal Nonfarm
1 2014 is through October.

For private employment, to be the best year since the '90s, the economy needs to add an additional 176 thousand private sector jobs (probably happen in the November report).

There is a small chance that 2014 will be the best year since 1998 for private employment.  However it would take an additional 491 thousand private sector jobs added in November and December (it would take 505 thousand additional jobs to be the best since 1997).  That would be a very strong finish to the year - unlikely, but not impossible.

Top Years Since 1995
Change in Private Payrolls per Year (000s)
1 2014 is through October.

Right now it seems very likely that 2014 will be the best year since 1999 for both total nonfarm and private sector employment.

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Finishing 2014 Strong, Best Year since 2000

by Bill McBride on 11/28/2014 10:41:00 AM

From US hotel results for week ending 22 November

The U.S. hotel industry recorded positive results in the three key performance measurements during the week of 16-22 November 2014, according to data from STR, Inc.

In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s occupancy rose 5.5 percent to 60.7 percent. Average daily rate increased 4.1 percent to finish the week at US$112.52. Revenue per available room for the week was up 9.8 percent to finish at US$68.34.
emphasis added
Note: ADR: Average Daily Rate, RevPAR: Revenue per Available Room.

The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotels are now heading into the slow period of the year.

Hotel Occupancy Rate Click on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2014, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 - the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels.  Purple is for 2000.

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is solidly above the median for 2000-2007, and since mid-June, the 4-week average of the occupancy rate has been a little higher than for the same week in 2000.

Right now it looks like 2014 will be the best year since 2000 for hotels.  And since it takes some time to plan and build hotels, I expect 2015 will be even better for hotel occupancy.

Data Source: Smith Travel Research, Courtesy of

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vehicle Sales Forecast: "Strongest November since 2001"

by Bill McBride on 11/27/2014 08:02:00 PM

The automakers will report November vehicle sales on Tuesday, December 2nd. Sales in October were at 16.35 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR), and it appears sales in November might be at or above 17 million SAAR.

Note:  There were 25 selling days in November this year compared to 26 last year.

Here are a few forecasts:

From WardsAuto: Forecast: SAAR Could Reach 17 Million for Second Time in Four Months

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. light-vehicle sales to reach a 17 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate for just the second time since 2006, after crossing that threshold most recently in August, when deliveries equated to a 17.4 million SAAR. The WardsAuto report is calling for 1.29 million light vehicles to be delivered over 25 selling days. The resulting daily sales rate of 51,461 units represents an 8.1% improvement over same-month year-ago (over 26 days) and a 9.1% month-to-month gain on October (27 days), slightly ahead of an average 6% October-November gain over the past three years. The 17 million-unit SAAR would be significantly higher than the 16.3 million recorded year-to-date through October, and would help bring 2014 sales in line with WardsAuto’s full year forecast of 16.4 million units.
From J.D. Power: New-Vehicle Retail Sales On Pace for 1.1 Million, the Strongest November Since 2001
New-vehicle retail sales in November 2014 are projected to come in at 1.1 million units, a 5.5 percent increase on a selling-day adjusted basis, compared with November 2013 (November 2014 has one fewer selling day than November 2013).
“The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth, which is exceptional considering that November is currently on pace to record the highest average customer-facing transaction prices ever,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. [Total forecast 16.5 million SAAR]
From Kelley Blue Book: New-Vehicle Sales To Rise 2.2 Percent In November On Black Friday Deals, According To Kelley Blue Book
In November 2014, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,270,000 units, up 2.2 percent from November 2013, and down 0.6 percent from October 2014. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for November 2014 is estimated to be 16.8 million, up from 16.2 million in November 2013, and up from 16.3 million in October 2014.
From TrueCar: TrueCar Forecasts 17 Million SAAR in November as Early Black Friday Events Prime the Market
TrueCar, Inc. ... forecasts the pace of auto sales in November accelerated to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate ("SAAR") of 17 million new units with the early launch of Black Friday sales campaigns.

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) are expected to reach 1,296,700 units for the month, up 4.1 percent from a year ago. On a daily selling rate (DSR) basis, with one less selling day this November, deliveries are expected to rise 8.2 percent. ... Best November since 2001
Another strong month for auto sales, and 2014 should be the best year since 2006.

WTI Crude Oil Falls Below $70

by Bill McBride on 11/27/2014 12:48:00 PM

From the WSJ: OPEC Leaves Production Target Unchanged

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said its 12 members, who collectively pump around one-third of the world’s oil, would comply with its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day. That would involve a supply cut of around 300,000 barrels a day based on the cartel’s output in October, according to the group’s own data.
The oil producer group’s decision led to a further sharp selloff in major global oil benchmarks, with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Brent crude fell about 6% to below $73, a four-year low, while the West Texas Intermediate benchmark was down 3.2% to $71.36 a barrel.
Oil PricesClick on graph for larger image

This graph shows WTI and Brent spot oil prices from the EIA. (Prices today added).

According to Bloomberg, WTI has fallen over 4% today to $69.40 per barrel, and Brent to $72.97.

Prices are off over 35% from the peak for the year, and if this price decline holds, there should be further declines in gasoline prices over the next couple of weeks.  Gasoline futures are down about 10 cents per gallon.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $2.80 per gallon (down about 45 cents from a year ago).  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.

Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by

Word of the Year

by Bill McBride on 11/27/2014 11:16:00 AM

Each year since 2003, Merriam-Webster has listed the Words of the Year mostly based on the frequency that each word was looked up that year.

Some years the "words of the year" have been relevant to Calculated Risk, as an example, in 2004 the word of the year was "blog" (CR was started in January 2005 partly because I was wondering what a "blog" was).  In 2008, the word of the year was "bailout", and in 2010 the word was "austerity".

For fun, here are a few suggestions for "word of the year" related to the blog since 2004 (I'm sure others will have better suggestions):

2004: Blog (Merriam-Webster)

2005: Bubble.  This was the peak year for the housing bubble (activity peaked in 2005, although prices peaked in early 2006).  Writing about the housing bubble was the main topic on the blog in 2005.

2006: Bust.  This was when the housing bust started.

2007: Subprime or Recession. It was 2007 that "subprime" started to be used by the general public. An alternative would be "recession" since the Great Recession started in December 2007, and a key topic on the blog all year was when the recession would start. Other words could be: delinquency, Alt-A, and NINJA (No income, jobs or asset loans).

2008: Bailout (Merriam-Webster).  Three alternatives could be "Financial Crisis", "TARP" and "foreclosure".

2009: Stimulus. An alternative could be "deflation".

2010: Austerity (Merriam-Webster).  Unfortunately austerity could be the "word of the year" for several years.

2011: Default.  This was the year Congress threatened to default on paying the bills.

2012: Short Sale.  This was probably the year that short sales peaked.  This was the year house prices bottomed (but I couldn't think of a "word")

2013: Shutdown.  In 2013, Congress shut down the government.

2014: Employment.  In May 2014, employment surpassed the pre-recession peak, and 2014 will be the best year for employment since the '90s.

2015: Wages (Just being hopeful - maybe 2015 will be the year that real wages start to increase)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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