Top 10 reads on the state of the economy

This is the first post on economic indicators. In this post we’ll share our top reads on the state of the US economy. Notice I say we, instead of I. In this new endeavor on tracking the economy I now have a partner. He happens to be my cousin and he is also an electrical engineer and even more of a geek than I am. I’ll talk about him more in the future. Before we dive into our top reads let me describe what we’re trying to do.

What we’re trying to do is use economic indicators, individual and/or composite indicators, to analyze the US business cycle. US business cycle definition and indicator analysis goes back to the late 1920s, early 1930s with the work of economists Burns and Mitchell. The US economy, any economy, tends to go through cycles of growth and recession. These cycles drive corporate profits and investor sentiment which tends to drive stock prices and valuations. If you can get an early read on when the economy is going into a recession then you can possibly avoid the worst of US stock market declines. I’ve talked about this type of analysis previously. For example, using the moving average of the unemployment rate has a really good track record of identifying upcoming recessions and recoveries. So, that’s what we’re trying to get to. A quantitative and robust way of using economic indicators to analyze the health of the economy and thus potentially helping us invest better.

First, lets start with a good economic calendar. The one at Economy is my favorite. There are no stock market prices and data nearby which I require. It has links to source sites, links to actual reported numbers, and even historical numbers for many indicators. Simple and direct.

OK. Now we can move on to our list of top reads on the economy. Below are links to the sites along with a brief description of what we look at. They are all quantitative based. Little to no politics (which is hard to avoid 100% when you’re talking the economy). No stock prices on the sites. We just want to look at the data and any good quantitative analysis associated with it.

  1. dShort – daily economic digest on economic indicators. Great charts and discussion. And if you really want to geek out and go down the rabbit hole, the updates section will consume you for days and days…our go to site for most econ data and analysis.
  2. Calculated Risk – housing expert but good on all economic data and indicators. Does some great work de-bunking all kinds of bad data.
  3. Capital Spectator – paid service but some good free info on economy. We look at the US Business Cycle Risk Report.
  4. Recession alerts – paid service but some good free info on the state of the economy. We watch the weekly leading index.
  5. e-Forecasting – paid service, not a lot of free info but we keep our eye on their leading index as well.
  6. LPL recession watch – good recession dashboard.
  7. Bonddad blog – good discussion on individual indicators. Good weekly summary of economic data. Also, a good debunker.
  8. Dash of Insight – great weekly summary, ‘Weighing the Week Ahead’, of economic data and indicators in quant section of the post. Nice good news, bad news section ever week. Also, great at debunking bad data and analysis.
  9. Fundamentalis – all kinds of analysis of SP500 earnings. Ultimately profits drive stock prices. Good to pay attention to.
  10. iMarketSignals – good quant site. We look at their BCI and UER analysis.

There you go. A relatively short list of sites to read on the health of the US economy. I tend to read these sites once a week, usually on the weekend. Unless there is a big economic release that is potentially market moving. The monthly employment report is the best example of this. I will start a separate page on the blog for all posts related to the economy.

Next up for economic analysis will be a look at individual economic indicators and our favorite ones to keep track of.

Full Disclaimer - Nothing on this site should ever be considered advice, research or the invitation to buy or sell securities. These are my personal opinions only.

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5 Responses to Top 10 reads on the state of the economy

  1. hector says:

    Awesome dude! Thanks for supporting the reality based community! I might learn something. And your cousin is a bigger geek than you ??!! Sheesh …

  2. Bernie says:

    Great list, Paul. I regularly read three of them and look forward to reading the rest. We need all the help we can get!

  3. Ralph Schmitt says:

    I know that “cousin geek” and I have the utmost confidence in his analytic capability and diligence. Add yours to that and it’s a great combination. Just started to follow your site and quant strategies. Great stuff. Keep up the awesome work. Important time to be extra vigilant on economic indicators.

  4. Don Thompson says:

    Paul
    Wow! TAA, and Quants, and now Econ info. You must be a fast reader and a fast typist.

    My question is way off topic for this post. Sorry about that.

    I remember reading in one of your posts about bond results and seeing a chart I cannot find now. It seemed to say that it was safer to balance between 3 top performing bond funds than put everything into the top performing fund. Can you direct me to that post?

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