Different Measures

July 31, 2022

by Stephen Stofka

Inflation around the world is high but the primary contributors to rising prices vary by region. In the U.S., heightened demand has outpaced supply. In Europe, supply and rising costs have had the most influence on inflation. Price growth is outpacing wage growth, adding pressure to many household budgets. This week the first estimate of GDP growth in the second quarter was -0.9%, the second consecutive quarter of negative growth. Economists offered varying definitions of recession while politicians threw blame and accusations for the economic downturn. Only Japan and Germany have lower unemployment rates than the 3.6% rate in the U.S. (OECD, 2022). In the fall of 2019, Mr. Trump bragged when the rate was that low. Political messaging is founded on diversion, delusion and doubt. 

Let’s start with the inflation rate, a crucial factor in the calculation of real GDP, the headline GDP numbers that are highly publicized. The inflation rate is deducted from the quarterly growth in nominal GDP to arrive at an inflation-adjusted measure of output. The higher the inflation rate, the lower the real GDP growth rate. In the 38 developed countries that comprise the OECD, average inflation in the 2nd quarter was 9.6% and GDP quarterly growth was 0.2%, a flatline in growth. Stuck in a three decade economic malaise, only Japan had a reasonable inflation rate of 2.4%. Here are the inflation rates in a few selected countries: U.S. 9.1%, U.K. 8.2%, Germany 7.6%, Italy 8.0%, France 5.8%. The 19 countries of the Eurozone are averaging 8.9% inflation and GDP growth of 0.5%. Only 40% of OECD countries have growth greater than 1% and those countries have relatively small economies (OECD, 2022).

Gross National Product, GDP, is the most widely publicized measure of economic activity but there are alternative measures. GDP emphasizes production within a country’s borders regardless of ownership. If a Japanese firm owns an auto plant in Tennessee, that production is counted even though the profits are flowing to Japanese investors.

Gross Domestic Income, GDI, includes income from all American owned production around the world but would not include income to the Japanese owners of the Tennessee plant. Ford co-owns 50% of Changan Ford Automobile Corporation, Ltd. in China. GDI would include income from that production. U.S. companies have large investments around the world so GDI captures that global presence.

The two measures capture different aspects of a country’s economy. The graph below charts the quarterly growth in real, or inflation-adjusted GDP and GDI (BEA, 2022). Notice that GDI quarterly growth remained positive in the 1st quarter.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA, 2021) won’t release 2nd quarter data for Gross Domestic Income for another month. A third measure, Final Sales of Domestic Product, excludes inventory adjustments and it turned positive in the second quarter.

(BEA, 2022)

Major League Baseball uses high frame rate cameras to capture the second-by-second action on the field. With the advantage of multiple angles and slow motion, a review committee in NYC overturns almost 50% of disputed calls (AP, 2020). While the players and fans wait for that review, they argue the call.

In the U.S., the final arbiter of recessions is a recession dating committee at a private, non-partisan organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER, 2022). The committee requires several months to gather enough data to determine the start of a recession. They announced the start of the 2001 recession at the end of that recession. In the FAQ accompanying the announcing the committee warned that two quarters of negative growth do not always count as a recession because the committee uses monthly data (NBER, 2001). Neither the Fed nor political parties can wait for all the information. The Fed makes monetary decisions in real time. An opposition political party uses even the hint of recession in an election year to sow doubt in the minds of voters.

On June 3, 1980, five months before the Presidential election, the NBER (1980) declared a probable start to a recession in January of that year. That announcement gave Republican challenger Ronald Reagan momentum against incumbent Jimmy Carter. In 1992, as unemployment continued to rise following the 1990 recession, challenger Bill Clinton suggested that we might be headed for another recession and called for a change in leadership. In their campaigns, John F. Kennedy (1960) and George Bush (2000) suggested that the economy might already be in a recession as the election neared. Both called for a change in leadership. This year Republicans will run on economic issues conveniently summarized with one word – inflation and recession. Democrats can highlight historically high employment gains and a low unemployment rate and will certainly run on individual rights.   

In baseball, the MLB central review office makes the final call on disputed calls. In national accounting, the recession dating committee at the NBER makes the determination of the start and end of recessions. In disputed decisions among lower courts, the Supreme Court makes the final determination and rule. In presidential elections, the electoral college makes the final call. We may not like the calls but we agree to live by them. Following the 2020 election, former President Trump and his allies broke that agreement and on January 6th tried to overturn the final call by violence. There’s a single word for that – coup.

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Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash

AP. (2020, July 21). MLB doubles camera angles for video reviews of umpires. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.tampabay.com/sports/rays/2020/07/21/mlb-doubles-camera-angles-for-video-reviews-of-umpires/

BEA. (2022, June 29). Gross Domestic Income. Gross Domestic Income | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.bea.gov/data/income-saving/gross-domestic-income

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). (2022). Real gross domestic income [A261RX1Q020SBEA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/A261RX1Q020SBEA, July 29, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). (2022). Real Gross Domestic Product [GDPC1], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1, July 29, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). (2022). Real Final Sales of Domestic Product [FINSLC1], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FINSLC1, July 29, 2022.

NBER. (1980, June 3). Business cycle dating committee announcement June 3, 1980. NBER. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.nber.org/news/business-cycle-dating-committee-announcement-june-3-1980

NBER. (2001). Business cycle dating committee announcement November 26, 2001. NBER. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.nber.org/news/business-cycle-dating-committee-announcement-november-26-2001#:~:text=of%20this%20memo.-,FAQs,the%20recession%20in%20March%202001.

NBER. (2022). US business cycle expansions and contractions. NBER. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.nber.org/research/data/us-business-cycle-expansions-and-contractions

OECD. (2021, May 25). OECD welcomes Costa Rica as its 38th member. OECD. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-welcomes-costa-rica-as-its-38th-member.htm

OECD (2022), Inflation (CPI) (indicator). doi: 10.1787/eee82e6e-en (Accessed on 29 July 2022)

OECD (2022), Quarterly GDP (indicator). doi: 10.1787/b86d1fc8-en (Accessed on 29 July 2022)

OECD (2022), Unemployment rate (indicator). doi: 10.1787/52570002-en (Accessed on 29 July 2022)

When We Swarm

July 24, 2022

by Stephen Stofka

Economists study individual and group human behavior as we try to satisfy our needs. Sometimes the sum of the quests for individual satisfaction produces an outcome that is unexpected or contradictory to the aims of each individual’s choices. People may synchronize their behavior to a point that their accumulated actions overload a system, causing it to become dangerously unbalanced and lead to a collapse. Our modern communication systems may introduce more frequent panics, more opportunities for reactionary zeal and anger.

During the Great Depression, the economist John Maynard Keynes proposed a Paradox of Thrift. Saving money is a prudent choice for each person but if too many people decide to save money at the same time, economic activity declines. An extreme example is the 2008 financial crisis and recession when millions of people decided to curtail their current spending, the blue line in the graph below, and increase their savings. This is the power of uncoordinated expectations. We act sometimes as if our actions were being choreographed.

These paradoxes introduce contradictions that challenge our assumptions and ideologies and cause a lot of disagreement among economists and the public. In an EconTalk (2009) podcast, economist Steve Fazzari explained the immediate consequences of the Paradox of Thrift. In an effort to save money for college, a family foregoes their weekly meal out at a nearby restaurant. At the first occurrence, the family saves money which they deposit in a bank savings account. The next day the restaurant owner must withdraw that same amount from the restaurant’s savings to make up for the lost revenue. In that immediate time frame, there is no increase in savings/investment and this violates the ideologies of some listeners. As the pattern continues, the restaurant owner will adjust her expectations for revenue and lay off some workers. The podcast listeners interpreted Fazzari’s analogy in several different ways. They could not agree on what a short time frame is or the scope of the story.

We see and hear words and events differently yet sometimes respond in a seemingly coordinated fashion. Our panicked response may cause or amplify the very thing we fear. In September 2008, banks and investment firms lost trust in the soundness of each other’s assets. The loss of confidence caused the value of those assets to plummet, actualizing the fear. The Fed and central banks around the world struggled to contain the panic as the global financial system seized up like an engine without oil. In March 2020, central banks were better prepared, flooding the markets with liquidity at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Still we swarmed onto the streets, emptying shelves of merchandise ahead of lockdowns.

Every culture has its account of the consequences of humankind’s hubris, a lesson in the perils of our own arrogance. The Bible accounted for the variety of languages with the story of the Tower of Babel. Our phones connect us to the information hive, instantly relaying breaking news in our language of choice. The internet brings us together and drives us apart. As our communications become more rapid and extensive, we increase the likelihood of global panics, an unplanned reaction to some event. Fringe groups become more adept at coordinating their anger and actions like they did at the Capitol on January 6th. Our culture evolves with our technology but our laws are slow to adapt. Our mechanism of lawmaking, adapted to a horse and buggy age of communication, will have to be redesigned before it breaks apart our society, our culture and our union.

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Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

EconTalk. (2022, April 21). Fazzari on Keynesian economics. Econlib. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.econtalk.org/fazzari-on-keynesian-economics/#c57267

Price Tides and Cultural Waves

This week I’ll look at the week’s events within a broad context of several centuries so make sure your seat belt is secure! Two weeks ago I wrote about two reliable indicators of recession, the annual acceleration in unemployment and in real retail sales. Since World War 2, an upward tick in unemployment and a downward movement in real retail sales has always preceded a recession. The unemployment report came out last week ending July 10th. The acceleration in the unemployed has remained negative, not confirming a high likelihood of a recession in the presence of weak retail sales.

The latest reports on inflation and retail sales were released this week. Although retail sales showed an increase, inflation adjusted retail sales decreased from last year. The deceleration in real retail sales is severe at -26%, indicating the dramatic consumer response to inflation and higher interest rates. Whether economists declare an official recession or not, consumers are feeling the pain and uncertainty. Here is an update on a graph I showed two weeks ago.

(FED, BLS, 2022)

In 2011, we saw a similar pattern – a plunge in retail sales but not an annual rise in the unemployment rate. There was a budget battle, a looming government shutdown and the stock market dropped 20% in anticipation of a recession that did not materialize. In the first quarter of 2012, the stock market began another historic climb, rising 60% in 30 months.

Each week we are reminded of rising food and energy prices but the rise in the cost of housing has been the most dramatic. According to Redfin (2022), a national real estate brokerage, a townhome in LA had a typical mortgage of almost $2400 in February 2021. In June 2022, they estimate a monthly mortgage cost of $4000, making it more expensive to own a townhome than to rent.

In David Hackett Fischer’s (1996) book The Great Wave he wrote about four centuries where prices continued to rise even during economic downturns. He dubbed these periods of sustained inflation “price revolutions.” The approximate dates are the 1200s, 1500s, 1700s, and 1900s (p. 6). The current price revolution began after World War 2, with prices falling only three times. Despite the severe recessions of 1974 and 1982, prices continued to rise.

Price revolutions create class conflict. The prices of life sustaining commodities like food, basic commodities, energy and shelter go up, having a greater impact on people with lower incomes. There are higher returns to property and capital owners. The price movements of manufactured goods are more tame but these benefit those with higher incomes, exacerbating class tensions (p. 86).

According to the Dept of Agriculture (USDA, 2022), the cost of food at home has fallen in only two of the last fifty years – in 2016 and 2017. There have been nine recessions since WW2, but the cost of shelter has fallen in only one year – 2010 (BLS, 2022). In a period of sustained price increase, people need more money. Since 1960, the per person quantity of a broad measure of money called M2 has declined in only two years – 1993 and 1995 (BOG, BEA, 2022).

Fischer identified seven causes of inflation (p. 279-280). Let’s review these in light of the rise in the cost of shelter. The first is an expansion of the money supply. A textbook example is the 1920s in Weimar Germany when people carted money in wheelbarrows to buy groceries. Today the Federal Reserve increases the money supply by lowering interest rates. People demand more credit and the banks increase the money supply. Low mortgage rates increase housing debt and the demand for housing.

A second cause  of inflation is an increase in aggregate demand. An extreme example is the surge in military spending during WW2. In this case we are focused on one sector – housing. According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index (S&P, 2022), home prices have risen at last 5% each year in the past decade. China’s rapid industrialization since 2000 has elevated global demand for building supplies. A third cause of inflation is a contraction in supply. The pandemic caused supply bottlenecks in the supply of lumber and other building materials. A fourth cause is rising input costs, or “cost push inflation.” This is sometimes associated with rising wages as happened in the 1960s, but real wages in the decade before the pandemic rose only 5%, according to the BLS (2022). In that same ten year period, the costs of building materials rose 26% and jumped 50% in the second quarter of 2021 (BLS, 2022).

A fifth cause of inflation are administered prices, or oligopolies and monopolies created by government action or as part of an international pact. A good example is the alliance of oil exporting countries known as OPEC. This has not been a factor in the latest rise in home prices. A sixth cause is “bubble inflation” like the tulip mania of 1634 or the more recent surge in home prices during the 2000s. People bought homes in the expectation of a rapid rise in home asset values and they paid little attention to the home’s affordability.

The seventh cause of inflation is more applicable to the recent surge in home prices and current Fed policy – inflationary expectations. Anticipating higher prices of goods and services, people buy now, increasing demand and prices. The expectation starts a chain of events that fulfills the expectation. The late 1970s is a good example of this. Anticipating a 25% increase in the price of stereo in the coming year, a consumer would buy now on an installment plan, paying 15-20% interest. They were saving money and getting to use the stereo free for a year! It is that kind of thinking that the Fed wants to contain because those expectations continue to fuel inflation. Each of these inflationary factors adds to the persistence of inflation. Five of the seven causes are clearly present in this latest bout of inflation but the pandemic is the culminating event of decades of inflation.

In previous price revolutions, a crisis event led to a fundamental transformation of society, attitudes and thinking. The plague of 1348 ended the price revolution of the 1200s and early 1300s. In its aftermath,  humanism emerged and the serfdom of the Middle Ages declined. The price revolution of the 1500s was followed by the Thirty Years War and the founding of the nation state that persists to this day. The Age of Enlightenment accompanied the price revolution of the 1700s. Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815 marked the beginning of the Modern Age, a revolution in travel, communications and industrial production. Will historians mark this pandemic as the end of the price revolution of the 1900s and the start of a new age?  

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Photo by Silas Baisch on Unsplash

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), M2 [M2SL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M2SL, July 15, 2022.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Advance Real Retail and Food Services Sales [RRSFS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RRSFS, July 15, 2022.

Fischer, D.H. (1996). The Great Wave. Oxford University Press, NY.

Redfin. (2022, June). Data center. Redfin Real Estate News. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.redfin.com/news/data-center/. Note: at the bottom of the page is Redfin Monthly Rental Market Data. Enter the market and type of housing you are interested in.

S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index [CSUSHPINSA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items in U.S. City Average [CPIAUCSL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Shelter in U.S. City Average [CUSR0000SAH1], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUSR0000SAH1, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producer Price Index by Industry: Building Material and Supplies Dealers [PCU44414441], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PCU44414441, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employed full time: Median usual weekly real earnings: Wage and salary workers: 16 years and over [LES1252881600Q], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LES1252881600Q, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate [UNRATE], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE, July 15, 2022.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Population [POPTHM], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/POPTHM, July 15, 2022

USDA. (2022, June 24). Food price outlook. USDA ERS – Food Price Outlook. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/

S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index [CSUSHPINSA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA, July 15, 2022.

Oil and Inflation Diverge

July 10, 2022

by Stephen Stofka

The jobs report this past Friday surprised to the upside, showing a monthly gain of 372,000 jobs, far above the 250,000 expected gain. This is one of three indicators I wrote about last week. The positive job gains lowers the chances of a coming recession but the Atlanta Fed is now projecting a 2nd quarter decline of 2% in real GDP. As some economists have noted, it is unusual to have strong positive employment growth and negative GDP growth. In the graph below is the percent change in employment (blue line) and real GDP (red line). Since labor accounts for the majority of production costs, the two series move closely together.

Historically, employment growth (blue line) is declining before recessions. Here is a look at the period before the 2008-9 recession.

Let’s turn to another prominent concern – inflation. When the price of oil declined below $100 this past week, some economists interpreted that as a sign of decreased demand and a greater likelihood of recession. The price of oil factors into the production of most goods, even the electricity that comes into our homes. In the graph below I’ve charted the acceleration in the price of oil and prices in general. The magnitude is less important than the direction. Most of the time, the direction of each is the same.

Now I want to focus on recent years. As the economy recovered from pandemic restrictions in 2021, the changes in both series shot higher as expected. In the past year, the acceleration in oil prices (blue line) has declined while the acceleration in general prices has gone up.

The divergence is unusual and indicates that inflation is grounded more in supply disruptions and pent up demand than in the price of oil. I’m guessing that the Fed has noticed a similar trend. To appreciate how unusual this divergence is, let’s go back to the 1970s when the price of a barrel of oil went from $3 to $34. Even though the price movement was extreme, the acceleration in oil prices and the general price level moved in the same direction.

There is no shortage of opinions about Fed monetary policy and the Biden administration’s fiscal policy. The second stimulus payments went out in the first two weeks of 2021 under the Trump administration. Retail sales rose 5% that month, but fell 2% in February. Inflation in February was 1.7%, below the Fed’s target of 2%. On March 11, 2021, six weeks after taking the oath of office, Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan and in late March a third round of stimulus payments went out. Retail sales rose 11% in March but most of that increase happened before people received their payment. The odd thing is that there was little change in retail sales in the following months. This is one of many oddities surrounding this pandemic.

The general adult population received vaccines in April, May and June. Inflation rose above 5% by June 2021, then leveled off through September. In the graph above, the acceleration in oil prices and the general price level began to show a divergence. In the last three months of 2021, inflation started climbing while the acceleration in oil started falling. Why? It had never happened before.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated the situation and no one is happy. Xcel Energy, the public utility in my area, has raised electricity prices by 42% over last year; natural gas prices by 14%. The Fed’s next FOMC meeting is July 26-27 and the market is pricing in a 97% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates by another .75%, moving the federal funds effective rate near 2%. From 1954-2008, the average rate was 5.65%. From 1988-2008, the rate averaged 4.71%. Since 2008, the rate has averaged .62%. Near zero interest rates are abnormal.

Can the Fed retrain investors and consumers expectations toward a 3-4% federal funds rate in line with historical averages? The Fed conducts a lot of research but the current circumstances are unusual and the data shows conflicting trends. In a few years with the benefit of hindsight and firm, revised data, an economist can devote a few chapters if not an entire book to the past two years.

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Photo by Tim Johnson on Unsplash

The Economic Valley

July 3, 2022

by Stephen Stofka

The Atlanta branch of the Federal Reserve maintains a running estimate of current output and other economic indicators updated sometimes daily as reports are released. The app is called EconomyNow and includes GDP, unemployment (UE), retail sales, and inflation. Recent data has caused them to revise their forecast for GDP growth in the 2nd quarter to a -2.1% annualized rate from 0% earlier in the week. Just a month ago, the model was forecasting 2% growth. If there was actually negative growth in the 2nd quarter, that would be two consecutive quarters of negative growth, increasing the likelihood that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) would call this a recession. However, the BEA does not rely on a single number to call a recession. Let’s look a bit deeper at past recessions.

Out of the many economic reports released each month, the unemployment (UE), inflation and retail sales reports have been reliable predictors of recession. The inflation report is used to adjust retail sales for inflation and produce what are called real retail sales. The combination of positive growth in UE and negative growth in real retail sales is a clear indicator of a weakening economy. The UE report for June will be released this coming Friday, the inflation report on July 13th and retail sales on July 15th.

Before each recession, the quarterly average of the unemployment rate rises above that of the previous year. Because the same quarter is compared in both years, the seasonal adjustments and economic flows are similar, an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Look at the rise in UE just before the 1990 and 2001 recessions, shaded gray in the graph below. (I will leave the series identifiers in the footnotes at the end of this post). Notice the hint of a recession in the first quarter of 1996. The Fed had raised interest rates by 3% in the previous year to curb growing inflation, then began lowering them at the end of 1995, averting what might have been a shallow recession.

Before the 2007-2009 recession, the growth of UE turned positive.

At the start of 2020, the UE was about the same as it was the previous year, an indication that the economy was susceptible to a shock. The pandemic was the shock of the century.

Let’s add in another indicator, real retail sales, and revisit these periods. When UE growth is positive, state unemployment benefits are rising while income tax revenues are falling. If retail sales are falling, then sales tax revenues are falling as well, putting additional budget pressures on states and localities. 1996:Q1 UE growth had barely turned positive but the growth in real retail sales was still positive and did not confirm the weakness in UE. In 2001, UE growth was positive and real retail growth was negative, confirming the economy’s weakness as investors became disillusioned with the heady promises of the new internet economy.

Before the 2008 recession, UE growth turned positive as real retail sales growth turned negative.

Let’s turn from that historical perspective to our current situation. In the 1st quarter of 2020, these two indicators turned positive and negative because of the pandemic, not in advance of it. At the end of 2019, UE growth was at zero, indicating a weakening economy. However, real retail sales growth was 1.6%.

There is a lot of talk about recession but these two indicators are not confirming that prediction. Growth in real retail sales is still positive and UE growth is negative. The reports in the next two weeks will give us a better picture of recession probabilities. The retail report comes out on July 15th, which is a Friday. The market will react to this report as it does most months. I will update the graph to include both of these indicators in my blog post for July 17th. Have a good 4th celebration and be careful if you live in a western state where it has been dry this year.

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Photo by Hans Luiggi on Unsplash

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate [UNRATE], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE, July 2, 2022.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Advance Real Retail and Food Services Sales [RRSFS], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RRSFS, July 2, 2022.