Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 22 Oct 13

The shutdown-delayed Employment Situation for September was another bad one. The notional unemployment rate fell a notional -0.1% to a notional 7.2%.  That’s all faeries and unicorns. In actuality, only 148,000 net new jobs were created. Average Earnings rose 0.1%, and the average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours. An additional 136,000 people left the labor force during the month, helping the labor force participation rate to stay unchanged at a historical low of 63.2%. One slightly more positive note is that the civilian labor force grew by 73,000 persons, while 133,000 more persons were reported as employed in September as compared to August.  When the numbers all shake out, nothing much has changed, as my estimate of the real rate of unemployment is 11.45% in September, compared to 11.46% in August.

ICSC-Goldman is reporting some retail sales improvement, with weekly sales growth at 1.4%, and year-over-year growth of 3.2%. Redbook, conversely, is reporting a weaker 2.9% year-over-year growth rate.

Foreign demand for US securities is again showing softness, with the 6th net outflow in 7 months of $-8.9 billion for August. Who is it that finances our deficits by buying US securities again? Oh, right. Foreigners.

Construction spending rose 0.6% in August, with a year-on-year increase of 7.1%. Gains were led by residential outlays, with both multi- and single-family sectors showing strength.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index rose from 0 to 1 in October, as district activity remained flat.

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