Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: June 13, 2013

Economic Statistics for 13 Jan 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Initial jobless claims fell 12,000 last week to 334,000. The 4-week average fell  7,250 to 345,250. Continuing claims rose 2,000 to 2.978 million.

May export prices fell -0.5% while import prices fell -0.6%. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell -0.9% while import prices fell -1.9%.

May retail sales rose 0.6%, while sales ex-autos and ex-autos and -gas both rose 0.3%.

April business inventories rose 0.3%, while wholesale sales fell -0.1%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell more than 2 points to -31.3.

Dale Franks
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Don’t drink “the employment picture is much better” Kool-aid

Why?  Because it isn’t really better.  Oh, it may be marginally better than it was a year ago but that’s not saying much at all.  In terms of real progress?  Yeah, not so much.  The National Journal says:

The U.S. jobs picture is bleaker than the most recent jobs reports may make you think. The economy added 175,000 jobs last month, but at the rate things are going, it would take almost a decade to get back to prerecession employment levels. A Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics digs in on the bad news: The number of job openings in the U.S. actually fell by 118,000 in April to 3.8 million.

How bad can 3.8 million job openings be? The Economic Policy Institute looks at the number and sees that “the main problem in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workers—and not, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings.”

Here’s a chart they put together to visually make the point:

An economy on the mend is generating jobs at such a pace that it is competing for workers.  As is obvious, that’s not the case in this economy, nor has it been the case for quite some time.

In a word, the employment picture sucks.  Anyone pretending otherwise is doing exactly that – pretending.  And they can toss around all the numbers they like, the bar charts above tell the real picture – business is not hiring and the reasons are multiple, most having to do with government intrusion (see ObamaCare for one example).