So we’ve been pointing out this chart a lot: It’s the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index, a measure of how well the data is coming in compared to economic expectations.
Anyway, it’s been falling pretty steadily lately, but let’s unpack the data for a moment to look at what this really means.
Remember, in the week before last, we got a slew of housing numbers, and optimists who have been hoping that a housing recovery would drive a broader comeback were disappointed. Virtually all of the housing numbers from that week were a miss.
Then in this most recent week, the data were similarly slumpy.
- Durable goods orders came in at 2.2% vs. expectations of 2.8%.
- Initial claims came in at 359K vs. estimates of 350K (and past weeks were revised higher)
- Chicago PMI came in at 62.2 vs. expectations of 63.0.
- The Kansas City Fed Index came in at 9 v. expectations of 13
- The Richmond Fed Index fell to 7.
There were a couple datapoints that came in OK. Spending growth came in ahead of expectations, and the GDP revision from Q4 stayed flat as expected at 3.0%.
So two takeaways: None of those numbers are bad, and they all show growth. But it’s now clear that we’re looking at al ong string of misses.