Friday, July 29, 2016

Q2 GDP: Investment Slump

by Bill McBride on 7/29/2016 11:52:00 AM

The graph below shows the contribution to GDP from residential investment, equipment and software, and nonresidential structures (3 quarter trailing average). This is important to follow because residential investment tends to lead the economy, equipment and software is generally coincident, and nonresidential structure investment trails the economy.

In the graph, red is residential, green is equipment and software, and blue is investment in non-residential structures. So the usual pattern - both into and out of recessions is - red, green, blue.

The dashed gray line is the contribution from the change in private inventories.

Investment ContributionsClick on graph for larger image.

There was an investment slump in Q2, even though consumer spending was strong (PCE increased at 4.2% annual rate in Q2).

Residential investment (RI) decreased at a 6.1% annual rate in Q2.  Equipment investment decreased at a 3.5% annual rate, and investment in non-residential structures decreased at a 7.9% annual rate.

On a 3 quarter trailing average basis, RI (red) is positive,  equipment (green) and nonresidential structures (blue) are negative.

Nonresidential investment in structures typically lags the recovery, however investment in energy and power provided a boost early in this recovery - and is now causing a decline.  I'll post more on the components of non-residential investment once the supplemental data is released.

I expect investment to pick up going forward (except for maybe energy and power), and for the economy to grow at a steady pace.

Residential Investment
The second graph shows residential investment as a percent of GDP.

Residential Investment as a percent of GDP has generally been increasing, but is only just above the bottom of the previous recessions - and I expect RI to continue to increase for the next few years.

I'll break down Residential Investment into components after the GDP details are released.

Note: Residential investment (RI) includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, broker's commissions, and a few minor categories.

non-Residential InvestmentThe third graph shows non-residential investment in structures, equipment and "intellectual property products".  Investment in equipment - as a percent of GDP - has been mostly moving sideways.  Investment in nonresidential structures - as a percent of GDP - has been moving down recently due to less investment in energy and power.

Although there was an investment slump in Q2 - no worries - residential investment will pickup (still very low), and non-residential (except energy) will also pickup.  Investment in inventory has been negative for five consecutive quarters, and that should make a positive contribution soon.