MARKETS have moved from worrying about the Chinese economy to fretting about the biggest economy in the world. Brokers are now putting probability estimates on the chance of a recession in America this year. Royal Bank of Canada uses the jobless claims numbers to come up with a 15% probability; Bank of America comes up with 20%.

This blog has returned from time to time to some old-fashioned measures; the goods that are being moved by truck and train. The American Trucking Association reports that December’s volumes were 1.1% higher than the same month in 2014. This hardly suggests an economy at full throttle but nor does it point to outright recession. A bullish spin on the numbers would point out that average volumes in 2015 were up  2.5% on 2014; a bearish spin would argue that January 2015 was the peak level for the index and December was below that level (the numbers are seasonally…Continue reading

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