Friday, January 25, 2019

Flying Blind: Data Held Hostage

by Calculated Risk on 1/25/2019 10:45:00 AM

Once again policy makers and analysts are flying blind without key economic data due to a government shutdown. As an example, the new home sales report for December wasn't released this morning (this is the second month in a row without a new home sales report).

I think the four most important releases are 1) the monthly employment report, 2) the quarterly GDP report, 3) the monthly housing starts report and 4) the monthly new home sales report.   Only the employment report is currently being released.   Of course many other reports flow into the quarterly GDP report - so those missing reports are also important.

All business people know that when there is a problem, a key first step is to measure the problem.    And everyone knows housing has been soft recently, so we need the housing starts and new home sales reports to understand how soft.

In the short term this is a minor inconvenience compared to the widespread suffering related to the shutdown, but these missing reports are important for understanding what is happening with the economy.