Consumer Metrics Institute is a (relatively) new econometric data and research firm.
What makes them so interesting to me is that they are not economists — they are simply number geeks trying to analyze U.S. consumer data in real-time. The goal is to uncover macro-economic trends by using different data then everyone else.
Rick Davis runs the place. He is a physicist enamored with what numbers say — and he is less than impressed with what the economics profession does:
My real gripes with the established economists are their lack of innovation. The lags and revisions in their data drive me crazy. There are enormous amounts of real-time data available that hardly anyone knows how to analyze. Our current problem is that we are so far ahead of the traditional data sources that hardly anyone takes us seriously.
Here is an example of a recent chart they have produced:
Source: Consumer Metrics Institute
Its not all good news: Their daily economic data of the ‘demand’ side of the economy has been shrinking at an annualized rate of over 1.5% during the trailing quarter. They expect this contraction will flow down to the ‘supply’ side of the economy over the next few months, with the lagging GDP shrinking in the second quarter (see this chart).