Inventory investment plays a central role in business cycle fluctuations. This post examines whether inventory investment amplifies or dampens economic fluctuations following a tightening in financial conditions. We find evidence supporting an amplification mechanism. This analysis suggests that inventory accumulation will be a drag on economic activity this year but provide a boost in 2020.
In a recent post, I discussed the significant impact that “fracking” and other unconventional energy development has had on bank deposits.
Banks play a crucial role in the economy by channeling funds from savers to borrowers.
The pronounced weakness in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for services has been an unusual feature of the 2007-09 recession and the slow recovery from it. Even in 2010:Q4, when real PCE increased at a relatively robust 4.1 percent annual rate, real PCE on services rose at only a 1.4 percent rate. This weakness has been especially evident in “discretionary” services (to be defined below), which fell more in the recent recession than in previous recessions and since have rebounded more sluggishly. In this post, I suggest that the continued sluggishness in these expenditures lends a note of caution regarding the sustainability of recent PCE strength. Because consumption accounts for about 70 percent of output, this in turn raises some concern about the future strength of the recovery.