Is the U.S. the only major crude producer with large production gains that are driving crude prices? The short answer is, yes. Since early 2009, more than half of the net gain in worldwide petroleum production is attributable solely to domestic U.S. gains. As our pic of the week shows, total worldwide petroleum production – which includes crude oil, liquids, condensate, and refined petroleum products – is up about 10 million barrels per day since early 2009. The U.S. accounts for nearly 6 million barrels of the gain.
Oil is trying hard to bottom near $50/barrel, but inventory build-ups keep getting in the way. Our pic-of-the-week shows weekly commercial crude oil inventories in the U.S. and they keep getting larger and larger. Crude in storage managed to post an all-time high of 425.6 million barrels last week. Not only does this extend the uptrend but it also represents a bounce well above the trend.
Just how big is the current oil boom relative to 1982? In short, not far behind for most of the energy states. Our last pic-of-the-week showed the share of total state earnings derived directly from the oil and gas sector. Requests quickly came in for a comparison of current conditions to those of 1982. This week’s pic answers that question. For each of the energy states,
The string of weak retail sales reports in the first four months of 2015 are not an indication of slowing overall economic activity. Instead, recent weakness in the retail data merely reflects the steep fall in sales at gasoline stations since November 2014. In our pic-of-the-week, retail sales minus gasoline station sales continues to show a very steady uptrend, even in the most recent data.
SELF-EMPLOYMENT REMAINS WEAK – EXCEPT FOR THOSE INCORPORATED. A common refrain in this recovery is that self-employment is lagging badly. That is generally true if you look at the traditional measure of self-employment which covers unincorporated businesses (primarily sole proprietors) only. The top graph shows that the level of traditional unincorporated self-employment has been locked in a downtrend during much of the period since 2007. Currently about 9 million persons are self-employed in unincorporated businesses.