Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 5 Feb 15

Chain stores today are reporting mostly stronger rates of year-on-year sales growth in January vs December.

Challenger’s layoff count for January jumped to 53,041 from 32,640 in December. Troublingly, 40% of layoffs are in the energy sector.

Gallup’s US Payroll to Population rate fell -0.2% to 44.1%. Gallup estimates unemployment at 7.1%, and underemployment at 15.8%.

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in December, from $-39.0 billion to $-46.6 billion as exports fell -1.1% and imports rose 2.2%.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 11,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average fell 6,500 to 292,750. Continuing claims rose 6,000 to 2.400 million.

The initial estimate of non-farm productivity for the 4th Quarter of 2014 is for a decline of -1.8%, while unit labor costs increased 2.7%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.8 points to a still healthy 45.5 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $0.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.500 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-7.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $67.5 billion in the latest week.

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6,500 in the week to 292,750

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