Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Second Derivative of Green Shoots is Positive!

In response to my post on retail, reader ZachA commented / requested:

I guess this means this means the "second derivative" is non-existent and thus the new data points to a continuation of the "first derivative" accelerating downward. I get my derivatives mixed up, but nonetheless the data is getting worse.

Jake, if there is anyway possible to efficiently generate a graph on how often "green shoots" or "second derivative" is uttered on CNBC when non-apocalyptic data is released please do it.

Here is the best I could do (the 'second derivative' search was too dominated by "actual" second derivative [i.e. mathematical] searches)

Though this doesn't answer the question as to which term is more annoying?

Source: Google Trends

Update: for those interested in the origins of green shoots, a reader was kind enough to send over this link


  1. And to answer your question, I would have to say "second derivative". At least "green shoots" allows for some amusing puns.

  2. ZachA's got the point I was going to make and have used. Naturally leads to yellow weeds (stolen and used), shoots ain't a crop(used), early freeze (pending, stealable) and harvest size (planned) :)

    On the other hand 2nd derivative leaves open all sorts of geek wordplay - disequilibrium, non-linear, rate vs level (stolen, used), punctuated disequilibrium (used), inflection point, etc.

    BtW - just for the record NONE of the major data series had positive 2nd derivatives when I looked using YoY changes. Including Consumption when you went to monthly data (though it did on the quarterly). Series by series dissection:

  3. The origins of "green shoots"

  4. dblwyo- great breakdown of the YoY vs. QoQ

    the other point about QoQ or MoM is the statistical significance of any one data point. the margin of error makes it possible that any of these "2nd derivatives" really aren't

  5. This is the clearest sign of general global recovery yet and qualifies as a Green Sapling. Derivatives got us into this mess and now they're rescuing us. Ain't math wonderful!

    "Mission Accomplished", Ben and Tim. Bonuses for everyone!

    Now, don't bother me while I'm watching American Idol, if you please. Ubu.