It’s Just The Facts: May 2019

  1. SELL IN MAY? – In analyzing the S&P 500 since 1989, the 6-month periods that begin on November 1st have beaten the 6-month periods that begin on May 1st in 19 of 30 years, i.e., the performance over the 30-years from 5/01/89 through 4/30/19. The 6-month periods ending April 30th are up +731% (total return) vs. a +119% gain for the 6-month periods ending October 31st (source: BTN Research).
  2. REALLY LOW – The USA has reported an unemployment rate lower than the April 2019 jobless rate of 3.6% only 17 times since January 1954, equal to just 2% of the preceding 783 months (source: Department of Labor).
  3. MAYBE NEVER? – 34% of American workers surveyed anticipate that they will be at least age 70 before they retire (source: EBRI 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey).
  4. MAYBE THEY WILL? – The Fed Funds futures market is forecasting a 57% chance of a December 2019 rate cut by the Federal Reserve as of the close of trading last Friday 5/10/19 (source: CME Group).
  5. LOWEST EVER – 9 states reported jobless rates at the end of March 2019 that were the lowest ever for their respective states, including Vermont (2.3%), South Carolina (3.2%) and Pennsylvania (3.9%). States have tracked unemployment rates since January 1976, i.e., for the last 43 years (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  6. AGING POPULATION – Between 1950 and 2018, the US population doubled from 159.1 million to 332.8 million while the number of Americans at least age 65 quadrupled from 12.8 million to 52.4 million (source: Social Security 2019 Trustees Report).
  7. NOT A PENNY – 23% of working Americans save nothing from their monthly income for their future retirement (source: First National Bank of Omaha 2019 Savings Survey).
  8. FEWER FUTURE TAXPAYERS – The greatest number of births in US history (4.32 million) occurred in calendar year 2007, equal to 8 babies born per minute for the entire year. The 3.79 million births that occurred in 2018, the lowest American total since 1986, is equal to 7 babies born per minute (source: Center for Disease Control).
  9. EXPENSIVE EDUCATION – Outstanding student loan debt in the USA was $1.49 trillion as of 3/31/19, up +126% (equal to +8.5% per year) from $660 billion of student debt as of 3/31/09 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of NY).
  10. HIGH-PRICED HOME – Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin paid $238 million for a New York City penthouse in January 2019, the most expensive residential purchase in US history (source: New York Times).
  11. ALWAYS UP? – The median sales price of existing homes and condos sold in the 9 counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area was $830,000 in March 2019, down 0.1% on a year-over-year basis, the first time a year-over-year drop has occurred in the Bay Area since March 2012 or 7 years earlier (source: CoreLogic, Inc.).
  12. SIMPLER RETURN – As of 12/31/17, there were 77 million homeowners in the USA, of which 34 million claimed a mortgage interest deduction on Schedule A of their 2017 Form 1040. As of 12/31/18, there were 79 million homeowners in the USA, of which just 14 million claimed a mortgage interest deduction on Schedule A of their 2018 Form 1040. The reduction in the use of the mortgage interest deduction was the result of the increased standard deduction created by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (source: Tax Policy Center).
  13. NEWBORNS – Our nation’s “general fertility rate,” defined as the number of births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, was just 59.0 births in 2018, a record low for birth data that has been tracked nationally since 1909 or for the last 110 years (source: National Center for Health Statistics).