Economists produce all manner of tables and graphs to track the economy’s performance. If we could choose only two, they would be the following.
Weekly Jobless Claims reports the number of workers filing for unemployment insurance on a weekly basis. It tracks in near real-time the health of the jobs market, and presently shows a generational low in unemployment claims.
High Yield Corporate Bond Spreads compares the yield on risky corporate bonds versus the yield on high-quality Treasury securities. When that spread is narrow, as it is today, it suggests the financial system and lending markets are in good shape. All told, these two indicators confirm the message from the stock market that the U.S. economy is performing well.
Chart Sources (top and bottom): Hefren-Tillotson, Bloomberg; Data as of 8/31/18.