2015 Charts of the Week

5 Investment Resolutions for 2016

Posted December 31, 2015

It's a popular time of the year to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Here at ICMA-RC, we offer you 5 investment ideas to consider for 2016 resolutions:

U.S. Treasury Yield Curve

Posted December 24, 2015

A "yield curve" plots yields of similar-quality bonds against their maturities, ranging from shortest to longest. By showing the relationship between the yields and the time to maturity, investors are able to compare the yields offered by short-term, medium-term, and long-term bonds. The yield curve may also suggest insights into investors' expectations for inflation and economic growth across different time periods. The closely watched U.S. Treasury yield curve is shown above.

U.S. Industrial Production

Posted December 18, 2015

The chart above shows the seasonally-adjusted monthly percentage change in U.S. Industrial Production for the last year. Industrial production is a measure of output in the industrial part of the U.S. economy, and on a monthly basis the U.S. Federal Reserve calculates an index of industrial production after collecting data on 312 industry components representing manufacturing, mining, and the electric and gas industries.

Real Gross Domestic Product and Contributions to Percent Change in Real GDP (Seasonally Adjusted Quarterly Data - Annualized)

Posted December 11, 2015

The Bureau of Economic Analysis ("BEA") reports historical quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) statistics by industry sectors. The aim of the statistics is to help measure industry contributions to GDP and identify emerging trends.

The True Cost of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Posted December 4, 2015

Since 1984, PNC Wealth Management ("PNC") has tracked the cost of the goods and services given as gifts in the classic "Twelve Days of Christmas" holiday song. For 2015, PNC adjusted the current prices of the turtle doves and swans to better reflect open market pricing, and adjusted their historical data accordingly. The 2015 cost was $155,407 for the gifts detailed in the verses of the song, including every repetition, which is a 0.6% increase from 2014. The increase was less than the U.S. Consumer Price Index year-over-year increase, which stood at 1.9 % through October 2015.

Bloomberg Commodity Index

Posted November 27, 2015

The Bloomberg Commodity Index is composed of twenty-two exchange traded futures for physical commodities, grouped into five sectors. As of October 30, 2105, the five sectors covered by the index were Energy, Agriculture, Industrial Metals, Precious Metals, and Livestock. Of the twenty-two futures included, as of October 30, Gold, Natural Gas, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil, and Corn, were the four highest weighted individual commodities in the index.

Consumer Sentiment Survey

Posted November 20, 2015

The University of Michigan Consumer Research Center conducts a monthly telephone survey of 500 consumers. Consumers are asked questions about personal finances, business conditions, and current "buying plans" as well as future expectations. The final index value is weighted 60% on expectations and 40% on current conditions. There are two releases each month, the preliminary release is based on approximately 60% of the monthly sample and the final release is based on the full sample. The chart above is based on the preliminary releases of each month for the last two years.

U.S. Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Activity

Posted November 13, 2015

The Institute for Supply Management ("ISM") produces two indexes on a monthly basis that are widely followed U.S. economic indicators. The ISM Manufacturing Index is based on surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms and monitors employment, production inventories, new orders and supplier deliveries. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is based on surveys of more than 400 non-manufacturing firms' purchasing and supply executives.

Growth of Retiree Costs Versus Social Security Benefits 2000-2015

Posted November 6, 2015

Inflation is one of the many factors that people planning for retirement should consider. Its compounding effect over time can erode retiree's standard of living in retirement years. Since inflation does not impact all products and services evenly, people planning for retirement need to factor on inflation for the products that they purchase.

Real Gross Domestic Product (Seasonally Adjusted Quarterly Data - Annualized)

Posted October 30, 2015

The Bureau of Economic Analysis ("BEA") reported a preliminary estimate of 1.5% growth in real Gross Domestic Product (inflation adjusted "GDP") for the third quarter of 2015 based on seasonally adjusted annualized data. This is down from the 3.9% growth reported for the second quarter of 2015, and is lower than the consensus forecast of 1.6%. It is also below the 30-year annual average rate of 2.6% for the third time in the past four quarters. Real GDP growth in the third quarter was impacted negatively by a slowing of inventory accumulation and positively by growing consumer spending.

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