Tag Archives: FRED

Interesting Consumer Purchasing Item… Upon Review, Makes Total Sense!

As you may know we have found several interesting items to follow this year….

First was the TSA throughput, measuring the upward trend in traffic passing through TSA security … here, here and here

Then we stumbled upon the Kastle back to work index, showing commercial office vacancy rates of the ten largest cities – interesting Kastle is a security monitoring company among other things, but hence the ability to share the data.

Used Auto Prices

Recently through the grapevine we heard stories of used auto purchase increases, which make sense as folks exit the larger metro areas and possibly avoid crowded public transportation …

So here is a longer dated chart …

Let’s look a little closer …magnifying the most recent activity

So this is the Price Index for Used Cars and Trucks from the St. Louis Fed (FRED) database….

Surprising at first, but upon second thought…. not surprising at all !

We will keep track, and hope you find it maybe just a little bit as interesting as we do!

Have a Great “Used Car and Truck Flying off the shelf” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.



Student Loans, History, Growth, and Interesting Facts….

With College Funding coming in at # 2, just behind retirement planning, as the most important Financial Planning topic … we watch the various statistics, public commentary and rules for trends, advanced planning techniques and rule changes that may be positive or negative in the coming years.

The History of Student Loans

The Federal Government began guaranteeing student loans in 1965. Here is our best found article on the complete history.

As a hot topic for any presidential administration, various laws have been passed since 1965, in most cases enhancing the ability for students/parents to obtain loans. Unfortunately, tuition costs have risen at a dramatic rate as well … a possible topic for another time.

Total Student Loan Statistics

The following chart from our friends at the St Louis Fed (FRED) shows the much spoken about total bulging student debt … often times called a crisis… yes, it is a large number and growing, but before you take a stance, we have more for you…

In our minds, student debt is one of the most acceptable debts from a Financial Planning perspective … yes we would prefer NOT to have any, and planning in advance helps this fact, but there are always situations where it is just not possible. Loans for higher education gives many the best opportunity for longevity of happiness in a career they may not otherwise had access…

Parents we would argue not sacrifice retirement for college funding, but we know there are many strong feelings on this topic…

Total Student Debt

9-10-19 Total Student Loan Debt

Total Burden Per Person By State

This chart from our friends at HowMuch.com started the wheels turning for this article…. and is a per person debt load in each of the 50 states.

9-10-19 america_student_debt_by_state-40fe

An Interesting and Important Statistical Chart

Student Debt is large, and clearly growing, however, much to our surprise, the growth rate of student debt has slowed dramatically in recent years….

9-10-19 Student Loan % change yr over yr

This chart is the percentage change year over year in student loans, note the super high mid teens growth during the great recession … not a surprise given the lack of job opportunities at the time.

Happily the growth rate has steadily declined post great recession.

Have a Great “Student Debt Update” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.

Natural Rate Of Unemployment/Employment ?

Post great recession of 07-09, many including ourselves were not certain just what the rate of Employment or Unemployment the US economy would run at in the future.

  • It was different this time many said?
  • Technological advances and replacement would push many out of employment?
  • Aging demographics may push the rates to different/higher/lower levels?

With almost 10 years in the books since the great recession began, we now know just what did change? Not much!

Full Employment/Unemployment history

Taking a look at this chart from FRED a research tank at the St Louise Federal Reserve, while it took longer to get back to historical levels, it finally has.

Granted there can be debates on the scope of the current employment rate, but from a high level measure stick such as this, it looks normal.

This longer term fantastic chart from this research report of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, shows the same.


Why did it take so long to normalize?

One good question many have asked is why did it take so long to normalize again?

The great recession was just that, so GREAT, it really put dents in the economy making this one of the slowest recoveries on record.

The weakest recovery line (slowest and lowest in the chart) represents this recovery. (This chart from our friends at JPMorgan.)

JPMorgan GDP expansion chart

The good news about such a slow recovery is that is has also become one of the longest, due to just that fact, slow and gradual, and certainly not overheating!

Have a Great Full Employment Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.
A Dallas Texas based fee only
Financial Planning Total Wealth
Management firm.




The Economic Recovery Problem in One Simple Graph

While listening to a recent Richard Fisher interview I was reminded of the main problem of this current sloooow economic recovery. The US Economy is certainly growing, bu it has not grown at its fullest potential and continues to plod along at a slow pace.

Fisher’s comments were from a worried stance. Being a Hawk (non advocate for additional help from the FOMC) his fear is once the economy gets going, it may take off too fast. Maybe he is correct, but for now, we could only be so lucky.

M2: The Velocity of Money

This from FRED (St. Louis Federal Reserve Research):

The velocity of money is the frequency at which one unit of currency is used to purchase domestically- produced goods and services within a given time period. In other words, it is the number of times one dollar is spent to buy goods and services per unit of time. If the velocity of money is increasing, then more transactions are occurring between individuals in an economy.

In non-fancy terms, M2 is money in motion. The FOMC has been pushing money into the banking system for some time. Let’s see if it is helping speed up M2?


To be fair, in order for M2 to accelerate, there must be demand for loans, and other money movement by the businesses and citizens of the US. So far, as you can tell, Fisher’s worries are unwarranted. A spike or even blip upward would be nice!

Have a Great Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

8222 Douglas Ave # 590
Dallas, TX 75225

St Louis Fed (FRED) … Tax Dollars Well Used … Short Week

Last week the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis though its data service known as FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) released major updates. Being true Economic data nerds, much of the weekend was spent trolling through the enhancements and updates.

St Louis Fed, Our Tax Dollars Well Spent

Often times it is easy to throw the US’s use of tax dollars under the wasteful bus, but this cannot be said about the St. Louis Fed (FRED) expenditures. With 150,00 data series from 59 different sources, their work is superb, and best of all, free!

Here are two key data points that the FOMC is watching pulled from the new FRED site.

Civilian Unemployment Rate- FOMC GO Target 6.5%, currently 7.3%

Unempl Rate

CPI or Inflation rate- FOMC Target toward 2% currently 1.2%


Short Week Schedule

The Thanksgiving Holiday is honored on Thursday with Capital Markets being closed, and only partially open on Friday. Cathy is off on Wednesday, Donald is flying out-of-state to visit family,  and the office will be closed on Friday  … Of course I will be loosely electronically tethered just to be safe throughout the week.

Have a Great Monday!

John Kvale CFA, CFP

8222 Douglas Ave # 590
Dallas, TX 75225