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Economic statistics

Economic Statistics for 6 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Monster employment index fell 7 points in December to 140, as global economic uncertainty keeps hiring plans cautious.

But you don’t care about that. You care about the December Employment Situation. The BLS reports that 200,000 net new jobs were created last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 8.5%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% while the average workweek rose 0.1 hours to 34.4 hours. The labor force shrunk by 50,000 but household employment rose 176,000 and the number of unemployed declined 226,000, according to the household survey. The labor force participation rate held steady at 64.0%. The U-6 unemployment rate, the broadest measure of unemployment, fell from 15.6% to 15.2%. Every indication is of a slowly and mildly improving labor market in December.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 5 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Auto Sales were mixed last month, coming in at a 13.6 million annual rate, the same as November. Light vehicle sales rose 2.8%, however, the best since the "Cash for Clunkers" program expired in August 2009.

Chain stores are reporting sales throughout the day today. So far, about 1/2 of the reporting stores show improved year-on-year sales from last month. Additionally, some chains are raising their investor guidance following the sales results, confirming improved profitability and sales.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows that layoff announcements totaled 41,785 in December. That’s right on trend for the last 3 months.

The ADP Employment Report indicates a big increase in private payroll growth, to 325,000 new jobs for December. While I suspect the overall December Employment Situation, which the BLS will release tomorrow, will be at least mildly positive, 325,000 new jobs seems like a stretch for the month. December’s always a tricky month anyway, due to seasonal employment, and the adjustment factors that try to account for it. A BLS increase of 160,000+ new jobs wouldn’t surprise me tomorrow, though, nor would a tick down in the Unemployment rate.

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 last week to 372,000 from the prior week’s revised 387,000 (an upward revision of 6,000).

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -44.8 in the period ended January 1 from -47.5 the prior week.

The ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Index rose slightly to 52.6, below expectations for 53.4, and only 0.6 higher than last month.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 4 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Factory orders rose 1.8% in November, mainly on aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.3%.

A short week and seasonal adjustments aside, the MBA reports that mortgage activity declined, as mortgage applications fell by -3.7%. Purchase applications fell  a steep -9.7%, while re-finance apps dropped by -1.9%.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales rose a strong 1.2% over the last week, and 5.3% over last year. Likewise, Redbook reports a year-over-year same-store sales increase of 4.9%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 3 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The ISM Manufacturing Index rose to 53.9 from last month’s 52.7, as manufacturing growth accelerated. This confirms the reports released last week from the various Fed regions, most of which showed manufacturing growth.

Construction spending has been volatile, but the latest month shows a monthly increase of 1.8%, and a year-over-year increase of 0.5%.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 29 Dec 11 (Updated)

Today’s economic statistical releases:

In a Dec 24 week clouded by the need for estimates, initial unemployment claims rose 15,000 to 381,000. Despite that, the 4-week moving average fell 5,750 to a 375,000, the eighth decline in 9 weeks.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index remains steady at 62.5 this month, but new orders are especially strong at 68.0.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to -47.5 last week, down from a reading of -45.0 last week.

Low prices and mortgage rates are boosting the housing sector, pushing the pending home sales index up 7.3% to 100.1.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index was supposed to be released this morning, but apparently, the Fed is delaying the release. Probably holiday-related issues.

UPDATE: The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index was much lower than expected, coming in at -4, vice analysts’ expectations of 6.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 27 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistics releases:

S&P/Case-Shiller reports home prices are still trending downwards, with prices down -0.6% last month, following last month’s -0.7% decline.On a year-over-year basis, prices have dropped -3.4%.

Optimism on jobs and income resulted in a 9.3 point rise in consumer confidence, with the index at 64.5 for December.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index came in at 3, showing mildly positive manufacturing expansion in the Richmond Fed district. This confirms similar readings from both the Philly Fed and Empire State surveys, both of which also showed mild manufacturing expansion. Conversely, the Dallas Fed reports that manufacturing activity in Texas declined in December as the general business activity index dropped to -3.0 from 3.2 in last month.

Investor confidence remains steady according to the State Street Investor Confidence Index, which holds steady at 99.3.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 23 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

A big surge in civilian aircraft pushed durable goods orders up 3.8%. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.3%. On a year-over-year basis, orders were up 12.1% overall, and 7.2% ex-transportation.

Both personal income and personal spending rose by 0.1% in November.

New home sales rose 1.6% in November to a 315,000 annual unit rate. Over the last few months, sales have picked up modestly, but from a very low levels, and house prices have continued to decline,m down 3.8% last month to a median price of $214,100.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 22 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Commerce Department’s 3rd estimate of 3Q GDP was again revised downwards, to a 1.8% annualized rate.On a year over year basis, GDP was up 1.5% over 3Q 2010. The downward revision was led by a smaller decline in inventories and less growth in personal consumption.

Initial claims for unemployment fell for the 3rd consecutive week, down 4,000 to a much lower-than-expected level of 364,000. Continuing claims fell 79,000 to 3.546 million, the lowest level of the recovery.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.37 in November from a revised -0.11 in October. Housing is still heavily negative in the report.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed to -45 in the period ended December 18 from -49.9 the prior week.

Consumer sentiment continued to improve, to 69.9 in December from 64.1 in November.

The FHFA reported that house prices in October unexpectedly declined -0.2% after rising 0.4% in September. Analysts had expected a 0.3% rise in prices, not further downward price pressure.

The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5% in November following October’s 0.9% increase. Positive elements include the treasury rate spread, building permits, consumer expectations, building permits, and falling unemployment claims.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 21 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases are a bit conflicted:

MBA Purchase Applications fell -2.6% overall last week, with purchases dropping -4.9% and re-fis falling -1.6%. So the positive housing numbers we’ve seen so far this month haven’t affected actual sales. Interest rates are attractively low, but that is balanced by poor employment conditions, tight credit, and a lack of equity.

A sweeping revision to the data method has sharply lowered the last 5 years of existing home sales reports. But last month, sales rose 4%, anyway, well above expectations, and the rest of the report is pretty positive, too, with housing prices firming up, and supply falling. Also, the gains are concentrated in single-family dwellings, and well-distributed geographically.

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Dale Franks
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