Lately economic data seems to be coming in week, and it’s gotten a lot of people talking about a “spring swoon” for the economy.
Actually, there’s a bigger patter people are worried about, that every year we seem to have these false dawns for the economy, only for things to get sluggish again.
The March jobs report (which came in at just 88K) was the most glaring example of the weakness, but also there’s been some weak housing and retail data.
The Citi Economic Surprise Index is a measure that tries to capture how well the data is coming in relative to economic expectations. After all, this is what’s key to markets. It’s not so much about whether the data is good or bad, but whether it’s better or worse than what people thought it would be.
Positive numbers indicate that the data is still “beating.” Negative numbers show missing.
The index has just turned negative.