Monday, April 18, 2016

Ranking Economic Data

by Bill McBride on 4/18/2016 02:11:00 PM

Here is an update to a list I posted several years ago with my ranking of economic data releases.

These lists are not exhaustive (I'm sure I left a few off), and the rankings are not static. As an example, a few years ago I ranked initial weekly unemployment claims as ‘B List’ data, but now that claims are close to normal levels, I've moved weekly claims down to the 'C List'.  Currently I'm watching measures of household debt a little closer and I've moved up the NY Fed's quarterly "Household Debt and Credit Report" to the C-list.

Note: There has been some research by Wall Street analysts about how "surprises" for many of these indicators impact the stock market. In general the ranking is similar with the employment situation report being #1.

The NAR existing home sales report is difficult to rank.  'For sale' inventory is important - almost "B-List"  - but the headline sales number is more "C-List". 

For each indicator I've included a link to the source and a recent post with graphs (in parenthesis).

Some of the lower ranked data is useful as leading indicators. As an example, the Architecture Billings Index is a leading indicator for investment in commercial real estate. And the NMHC apartment survey leads changes in apartment rents and vacancy rates. Also some of the lower ranked data helps forecast some of the more important data.

A-List
• BLS: Employment Situation Report, (March Employment Report: 215,000 Jobs, 5.0% Unemployment Rate and Comments: Another Solid Employment Report)
• BEA: GDP Report (quarterly) (Q4 GDP Revised Up to 1.4% Annual Rate)

B-List
• Census: New Home Sales (New Home Sales increased to 512,000 Annual Rate in February)
• Census: Housing Starts (Housing Starts increased to 1.178 Million Annual Rate in February and Comments on February Housing Starts)
• ISM Manufacturing Index (ISM Manufacturing index increased to 51.8 in March)
• Census: Retail Sales (Retail Sales decreased 0.3% in March)
• BEA: Personal Income and Outlays (Personal Income increased 0.2% in February, Spending increased 0.1%)
• Fed: Industrial Production (Fed: Industrial Production decreased 0.6% in March)
• BLS: Core CPI (Key Measures Show Inflation close to 2% in March)

C-List
• NAR: Existing Home Sales (Existing Home Sales decreased in February to 5.08 million SAAR)
• DOL: Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims (Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decrease to 253,000)
• Manufacturers: Light Vehicle Sales (U.S. Light Vehicle Sales decline to 16.45 million annual rate in March)
• Philly Fed: Philly Fed Index (Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey showed Expansion in March)
• NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing Index (NY Fed: April "General business conditions climbed nine points, highest in more than a year")
• Chicago ISM: Chicago PMI (Chicago PMI increases to 53.6)
• Census: Durable Goods
• ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to 54.5% in March)
• House Prices: Case-Shiller and CoreLogic (Case-Shiller: National House Price Index increased 5.4% year-over-year in January and CoreLogic: House Prices up 6.8% Year-over-year in February)
• BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (BLS: Jobs Openings "little changed" in February)
• Census: Construction Spending (Construction Spending decreased 0.5% in February)
• Census: Trade Balance (Trade Deficit Increased in February to $47.1 Billion)
• MBA: Mortgage Delinquency Data (Quarterly) (MBA: Mortgage Delinquency and Foreclosure Rates Decrease in Q4)
• Black Knight: Mortgage Delinquency Data (Black Knight's First Look at February Mortgage Data: Delinquency rate lowest since April 2007)
• CoreLogic and Zillow: Negative Equity Report and Zillow (quarterly) (CoreLogic: "1 Million US Borrowers Regained Equity in 2015")
• AIA: Architecture Billings Index (AIA: "Modest Expansion for Architecture Billings Index")
• NY Fed: Household Debt and Credit Report (Quarterly) (NY Fed: Household Debt Increased "Modestly" in Q4 2015, Delinquency Rates Declined)

D-List
• Fed: Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios (Quarterly)
• Fed: Flow of Funds (Quarterly)
• Richmond Fed: Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index
• Kansas City Fed: Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index
• Dallas Fed: Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index
• Reis: Office, Mall, Apartment Vacancy Rates (Quarterly)
• NMHC Apartment Survey (Quarterly)
Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
• MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications Index
• NAHB: Housing Market Index ( NAHB: Builder Confidence unchanged at 58 in April)
• Census: Housing Vacancy Survey (Quarterly)
• Fed: Senior Loan Officer Survey (Quarterly)
• ATA: Trucking
• NFIB: Small Business Survey
• STR: Hotel Occupancy
• NRA: Restaurant Performance Index
• Fed: Consumer Credit
• DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven
LA and Long Beach Port Traffic
• BLS: Producer Price Index
• ADP Employment Report
• Conference Board Confidence Index
• NAR: Pending Home Sales

Sources (Government):
BEA: Bureau of Economic Analysis
BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Census: Census Bureau
DOL: Dept of Labor
DOT: Dept. of Transportation
Fed: Federal Reserve

Sources (Industry):

AIA: American Institute of Architects
ISM: Institute for Supply Management
LPS: Black Knight
MBA: Mortgage Bankers Association
NAHB: National Association of Homebuilders
NAR: National Association of Realtors
NFIB: National Federation of Independent Business
NRA: National Restaurant Association
STR: Smith Travel Research