Economic Indicators

 

Job Openings Level and Rate (JOPL/JOPR)

Type: Number/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: NFRM - non-farm, CSTR - construction, MFTG - manufacturing, TPWH - transportation and warehousing

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                           The number of job openings in thousands in the country on the last day of the month (seasonally adjusted) as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job openings rate is number of job openings divided by the total employment plus job openings. i.e. if there are 10 job openings and 90 employees then the job opening rate = 10/(90+10) = 10%.

Who is interested?
Analysts, Higher level executives, Human Resources, owner operators

What does it tell me?
The Job Openings level and rate help measure labor demand. The absolute level is useful in looking at over time values to see how the labor market is creating new jobs. The job opening rate gives perspective as it relates to the total workforce. 3% job opening rate is considered normal or healthy. Job openings are useful when compared to hires information. 

Example: A user wants to understand the job openings level for non-farm jobs. They would enter: JOPL.NFRM

 

Hires Level and Rate (HIRL/HIRR)

Type: Number/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: NFRM - non-farm, CSTR - construction, MFTG - manufacturing, TPWH - transportation and warehousing

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               The number of people hired in thousands in the calendar month (seasonally adjusted) as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The hires rate is the number of hires divided by total employment for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. i.e. There are 90 people on the payroll of a company and they hired 10 people that month. The hires rate = 10/90 = 11.1%. 

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, Human Resources, owner operators

What does it tell me?
The Hires level and rate help measure labor demand and the ability for companies to fill available positions. The absolute level is useful in looking at over time values to see how the labor market is creating and filling jobs. The higher the rate the faster jobs are being created and filled. 3.8% is considered healthy. 

Example: A user wants to understand the hires level for manufacturing jobs. They would enter: HIRR.MFTG.

 

Producer Price Index/Year-Over-Year Change (PPI/PPIG)

Type: Index/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: LDTL - long distance truckload, LDLTL - long distance less-than-truckload, LOCL - general freight local, GFTK - general freight trucking

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Producer Price Indexes (PPI) are weighted monthly indexes of prices at the wholesale or producer level. The PPIs The year-over-year change in PPI is the percent change in the PPI index versus the same month last year. i.e. the PPI in June last year was 125 and this year it is 132. The PPIG would be (132-125)/125 = 5.6% for June this year.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
The Producer Price Indexes help you understand how much the price of production for non finished goods is increasing or decreasing. Domestic producers paying more will lead to higher consumer or retail prices of finished goods and ultimately inflation. Low inflation is good for the economy whereas too much inflation means overheating and higher interest rates. 

 Example: A user wants to know the producer price index year over year change in truckload pricing. They would enter PPIG.LDTL.

 

Industrial Production Index/Year-Over-Year Change (IPRO/IPROG)

Type: Index/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Industrial production index (IPRO) is a monthly measure of output of the industrial sector (manufacturing, mining, and utilities) of the economy as reported by the Federal Reserve. It is also a measure of capacity and capacity utilization. Currently the base year is 2012 with a value of 100. Industrial production year-over-year change (IPROG) is a percent change in IPRO from the same month in the previous year. i.e. Industrial production was 107.3 in May of 2018 and 103.67 in May of 2017. The IPROG would be 3.5% for May 2018.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
If IPRO is too high or increases too much that could be a signal of overheating and inflation. If IPRO decreases too much or too quickly that could be a sign of low demand and the Federal Reserve may consider economic stimulus. 

 Example: A user wants to see the industrial production change in the country year over year. They would enter IPROG.USA. 

 

Unemployment Rate (UEMP/UEMP6)

Type: Percent

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Unemployment Rate (UEMP) is defined as the number of people unemployed who are "actively" seeking employment in the last 4 weeks over the total labor force. The U-6 rate (UEMP6) is defined as all unemployed as well as "persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the labor force." That means the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
UEMP generally rises or falls in the wake of economic activity. When the economy is doing well the unemployment rate generally falls whereas the opposite occurs when the economy does poorly. A "healthy" UEMP is considered to be around 4.5%. If the UEMP is too low that can mean over-employment where there are not enough skilled workers available to fill positions. Over-employment is good for job seekers, but bad for businesses. UEMP6 is a more complete view of unemployment as it includes a larger base of people. It measures the employable workforce. 

 Example: A user wants to see the unemployment rate in the country. They would enter UEMP.USA. 

 

Total Business Inventory/Sales Ratio (TBIS)

Type: Ratio

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Total Business Inventory to Sales Ratio (TBIS) is the monthly ratio of inventory (end of month value) to monthly sales. These ratios  can be looked at as indications of the number of months inventory that are on hand. i.e. An inventory/sales ratio of 2.5.`

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
High levels of inventory could mean lack of demand or oversupply signaling a weakening economy. Generally TBIS levels over 1.42 have signaled weakening economies, but that is not the rule. 

 Example: A user wants to see the inventory to sales ratio for the country. They would enter TBIS.USA. 

 

Retail Sales/Year-Over-Year Change (RESL/RESLG)

Type: Number($M)/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Retail sales (RESL) is the seasonally adjusted monthly sales in thousands of dollars for retail and food services excluding sales taxes. Year over year change in retail sales is the percent difference in retail sales from the same month one year prior. i.e. Retail sales (in thousands) in April 2018 was $497,852 and in April 2017 it was $475,145. Retail sales change (RESLG) is ($497,852 - $475,145) / $475,145 = 4.78%.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
Retail sales levels give a general idea of how well the retail sector is performing. The retail sector is the end point for finished goods and is a good indicator of economic well being. The weakness of sales is there is no accounting for inflation, which is why it is good to look at the year over year change. 

 Example: A user wants to see the retail sales year over year change. They would enter RESLG.USA

 

Goods Exports/Year-Over-Year Change/Goods Imports/Year-Over-Year Change (GOEX/GOEXG/GOIM/GOIMG)

Type: Number($M)/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Goods Exports and Imports (GOEX and GOIM) are the total amounts valued in millions of dollars of monthly exported goods and imported goods in the U.S. The related year-over-year changes (GOEXG and GOIMG) are the percent changes from the same month in the previous year. i.e. The goods export value for May 2018 (in $M) is $145,282 and the value for May 2017 (in $M) is $128,316. The year-over-year change (GOEXG.USA) would be ($145,282 - $128,316) / $128,316 = 13.22%. 

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
The value of goods exported and imported tell us if the U.S. is experiencing a trade surplus or a trade deficit. When the amount of goods exported exceed imports that is a trade surplus. Trade surplus implies your goods are in more demand in relation to other countries' goods, which can increase the value of the currency. When the amount of goods imported exceeds the amount imported that is a trade deficit. A trade deficit implies the country has less demand for its goods than other countries. Trade deficit can make the countries' currency less valuable in the global market. Trade balances are just one of many factors in currency markets, but can have large impacts. 

 Example: A user wants to see the goods exported value for the year. They would enter GOEX.USA

 

Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP/RGDPQ/RGDPY)

Type: Number ($B)/Percent

Qualifiers it works with: USA

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Gross Domestic Product  (RGDP) is an inflation-adjusted measure that reflects the value of all goods and services produced by an economy in a given year, expressed in base-year prices, and is often referred to as "constant-price," "inflation-corrected" GDP.  

RGDPQ is the difference between real GDP from the current quarter and previous quarter as defined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. i.e. The first quarter 2018 GDP grew 2.2% over the 4th quarter 2017 GDP. 

RGDPY is the difference between real GDP from the current quarter and previous year  for the same quarter. i.e. The first quarter 2018 GDP grew 2.6% over the 1st quarter 2018 GDP.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total value of goods and services produced in a period. GDP is one of the most commonly used macroeconomic indicators in measuring the economic well being of the U.S. A country is said to be in a recession when it experiences 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. i.e. If the GDP was -1% in 2 consecutive quarters that would be a sign of a recession. 

 Example: A user wants to see the quarterly change in GDP from 1st Q 2018 and 2nd Q 2018. They would enter RGDPQ.USA

 

Housing Starts (HOUS)

Type: Number (000s)

Qualifiers it works with: USA, Region Midwest - RMW, Region Northeast - RNE, Region South - RST, Region West - RWT

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               The number of new houses (in thousands) begun for construction in a month. The number is seasonally adjusted and organized into regions of the U.S.

Who is interested?
Analysts, High level executives, owner operators

What does it tell me?
Housing starts are considered a key indicator of the economy as it has ties to manufacturing, banking, construction, raw materials, and obviously real estate. In a good economy people are more likely to purchase a new home. Conversely in a weak economy they are less likely to purchase a new home. The numbers are smoothed for seasonality as weather has a significant impact on construction. 

 Example: A user wants to see total housing starts in the south for the most recent month. The user would type HOUS.RST.

 

Orders (ORDR)

Type: Number ($M)

Qualifiers it works with: Durable goods - DG, Durable goods excluding defense - DGXD, Durable goods excluding transportation - DGXT, Non-durable goods - NDG, Transportation equipment - TREQ

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               Orders is an economic indicator released monthly by the Bureau of Census that reflects new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for delivery in the near term or future. SONAR offers 5 different qualifiers. 

Who is interested?                                                                                                                                                                                            Analysts, CFOs, Economists, Managers

What does it tell me?                                                                                                                                                                                     Orders provide insight into the supply chain as they provide data on factory production. Trucking is greatly impacted by goods orders as it is responsible for delivering all parts to the factories and to subsequent retailers once the good is complete. Transportation equipment is directly related to the transportation industry as it provides insight into capital investment in items like trucks and airplanes in the U.S.

Example: A user wants to view orders for transportation equipment. They would type: ORDR.TREQ

 

Average Hourly Wages (EARN)

Type: Number ($)

Qualifiers it works with: Construction - CSTR, Education and Services - EDUC, Financial Activities - FINC, Leisure and Hospitality - HOSP, Manufacturing - MFTG, Mining - MINE, Professional and Business - PROB, Total Private - PRVT, Retail Trade - RETL, Transportation and Warehousing - TPWH, Utilities - UTIL, Wholesale Trade - WTRD 

What is it?                                                                                                                                                                                                               The average hourly wage seasonally adjusted as defined by the BLS.  

Who is interested?                                                                                                                                                                                            Analysts, CFOs, Economists, Managers, Human Resources

What does it tell me?                                                                                                                                                                                      Hourly wages provide a point of reference for understanding how wages are increasing in relation to the general economy. If unemployment is low and wages are flat, employers are not having to increase wages to fill jobs which should keep costs low, but the economy may remain flat until costs outpace the wages. When costs outpace wages that is a sign the economy may be overheated and will run into growth resistance as people can no longer afford to keep up with inflation which will decrease demand.  

Example: A user wants to view the average hourly wage for rail transportation. They would type: EARN.RAIL