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They don't forget.
We may have discovered what separates the doves from the hawks at the Federal Reserve: those not inclined to raise rates eat a lot of bacon cheeseburgers. That American food favorite is in the midst of its first bout of serious deflation (+3% price declines) since 2010, with similar episodes only occurring in periods like 1991/92 and 1998. OK, that’s probably not the whole story but our Bacon Cheeseburger Index is part of a suite of “Off the grid” economic indicators that seek to fill in gaps left by standard (and, let’s face it, dull) measures of the U.S. economy. This quarter we have some good data (car and truck demand is fantastic), and then some “Meh” and some bad (workers aren’t quitting their jobs enough, food stamp usage is down but still at 14% of the US population, gold coin demand is skyrocketing, mutual fund redemptions are too, and people still want to sell their kidneys). These indicators, quirky as they are, have been remarkably prescient over the past year at outlining the frail domestic economic recovery. Read on for all the details.
It goes like this:
And because of that popularity, consumers have a remarkably good grasp on the price of ingredients. That makes the humble hamburger with equally popular toppings like cheese and bacon a remarkably good measure of observed inflation – something that consumers use to anchor their own inflationary expectations.
The details here:
We’ve been doing these reports for the better part of 5 years, every quarter, and over that time the analysis has always helped illustrate some facet of the real world that dry government statistics gloss over or just outright miss.
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