Free Markets, Free People

Economic Statistics for 5 Mar 15

Chain stores are reporting roughly the same rates of year-on-year sales growth as they did in January, indicating flat sales.

Challenger’s layoff count fell to 50,579 in February vs 53,041 in January. But, the monthly average during the 4th quarter was below 40,000, so the 1st quarter’s layoff count is significantly higher.

Nonfarm productivity growth for the 4th quarter 2014  was revised down to an annualized drop of -2.2%, as unit labor costs increased 4.1%.

Factory orders fell -0.2% in January, the 6th straight decline, as a -3.1% decline in non-durable goods offset a 2.8% rise in durables. The increase in durable goods orders, however, mainly resulted from the volatile transportation sector, due to a big gain for commercial aircraft, which jumped 9.7%.

Gallup’s US Payroll to Population rate dropped slightly in February from 44.1% to 43.9%.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 7,000 to 320,000. The 4-week average rose 10,250 to 304,750. Continuing claims rose 17,000 to 2.421 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.7 points to 43.5 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $0.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.488 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-10.7 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $43.5 billion in the latest week.

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