This Economic Indicator Is Proving the Naysayers Wrong

Another year, another Thanksgiving. I hope all of my American friends and readers had the chance to spend some quality time with family as we begin the busy holiday shopping season. The leading retail trade group expects sales this month and in December to increase as much as 4.2 percent over last year, for a total potential value of $730.7 billion.

Part of this growth is due to the market selloff that happened at the end of 2018. But there’s more to the story than that.

As I told you last week, the U.S. purchasing manager’s index (PMI), a leading indicator of economic activity, turned up for the third straight month in November. This is a good reflection of healthy demand, and a possible signal of further upside. There’s still a month left to 2019, and yet stocks are already up an incredible 28 percent.

Below are some more need-to-know numbers you might have missed from this past week.

$0.01 Increase for a Thanksgiving Dinner

One of the more interesting ways to measure U.S. inflation is by tracking the annual price of a typical Thanksgiving dinner for 10. That’s what the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has been doing for the past 34 years, and in its most recent survey, the group found that the total cost was effectively flat, rising only $0.01—from $48.90 in 2018 to $48.91 today. That’s as little as $5 per person. As Evercore ISI pointed out in a research note this week, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is lower now than it was eight years ago—the first time we’ve seen that since 1947.

“Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world,” commented AFBF Chief Economist John Newton.

Cost of a Thanksgiving Dinner in the U.S. Effectively Unchanged From Last YEar
click to enlarge