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-- Brad Delong

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If you invent a better indicator . . .

I haven't exactly gone on a quest, but via Mish (in a link I've lost from about 10-12 days ago, due to a computer freeze up{non-weather related} this morning) somebody he mentioned likes the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CF-NIA) which can be found here.

I like to make my own graphs, so here is my presentation of their data.  The faint gray line is the actual data, which is reported on a monthly basis.  The blue curve is a 12 month moving average.  Red and blue horizontal line segments represent the time spans of Democratic (blue) and Republican (red) presidents.

Hmmm, though.  Doesn't the shape of those gyrations look a bit familiar?

Here in green is the CF-NAI data, presented as the average value for each year, along side GDP Year over Year growth, presented in Red and Blue, per president.  The slanted straight lines are best fits in green and purple, respectively.  Not exactly lock-step, but lots of similarity, even at the detail level.   The correlation coefficient is an impressive .874.

Interestingly, the downward slope of the CF-NIA is steeper than that of GDP growth.

Does anybody have a better idea?

Meanwhile - WOW!  Are we screwed, or what?

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