Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 12 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Initial Jobless claims have been declining for several weeks, but last week jumped 24,000 to 399,000. The first week of the year is always bad like that, though. Often, it’s the worst week of the year. I think the seasonal variations really confound the government’s ability to factor in the loss of temporary holiday jobs.

December retail sales were worse than expected. Sales were up 0.1% over last month and, ex-autos, actually declined -0.2%. Ex-autos and Gas, sales were flat. Retail sales for October and November were also revised downwards. On a year-on-year basis, however, sales were up 6.5%, and up 6% ex-autos. So today’s report is a disappointment, but not a disaster.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was -44.7 last week, up from -44.8 the prior week. That’s the highest reading since July.

Business inventories and sales both rose 0.3% in November, keeping the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged for a 5th straight month.

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Dale Franks
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