We’ve seen a number of charts and graphs that describe the recovery – how slow it is growing, its impacts, etc. I’m a big fan of interesting visualizations of data (insert gratuitous plug for Edward Tufte’s books and seminars here – which I have read & attended and think he’s on point but the seminars lack a bit of punch) so I was impressed when I saw the graph below from the Atlanta Fed:
(click to enlarge)
It is interesting to read the entire description on this blog. The chart snapshots the recovery progress between what they defined as the bottom of the recession (4Q2007) to the measurement levels pre-recession (4Q2007). Let me simplify it for our readers who don’t click through. The outer red circle is the 100% mark for each measurement and the inner yellow circle marks zero percent for these indicators and measurements. Each of the irregular “stars” represent the status of all the measurements annually (2010, 2011, and 2012) in the fourth quarter. You can roughly segregate the chart into quarters. The upper right quarter are employer behavior indicators. The lower right quarter shows employer confidence indicators. The lower left quarter is the labor utilization metrics and the upper left quarter holds the market’s leading indicators. If one were to look just at the leading indicators, it seems like our future is shaping up – all three metrics are recently at or above 60% “recovered” back to the baseline level. The remaining metric categories haven’t even recovered halfway back to the baseline level. Even after all the summers of recovery, quantitative easing, and stimuli efforts. There are caveats to reading this chart – several of the indicators won’t just recover incrementally from 0 to 100%. But it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. I truly hope the Atlanta Fed will continue to update this chart as we go forward.