Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekly Indicators (and special bonus: can Mish count?)

- by New Deal democrat

Well, we all know what the Big Story was this week. I am pleased to advise that the Emperor has graciously allowed me a reprieve to await the final revisions for December and January before I must commit ritual Seppuku.

There is clearly a disconnect between the ISM indices and everything else. Neither the direction nor the intensity of the changes in either ISM index have correlated with either the ADP or BLS data in the last few months. Anyway, turning to the weekly data ...

The BLS also reported 434,000 initial jobless claims filed. The four week moving average continues to improve, at just over 450,000.

The weekly data for both the ICSC and Shoppertrak showed impressive gains, as did the monthly ICSC retail numbers. The ICSC reported December retail sales up 2.8% vs. last year. For the week, they were up 2.5% YoY and 1.5% WoW. Shoppertrak showed YoY sales up 15.3% and WoW sales up 27.5%.

Oil moved up over $80 a barrel, and gasoline up to $2.67/gallon, which does not bode well for later this year. Usage remained slightly ahead of a year ago.

Railfax showed a typical end of the year slump. Cyclical and intermodal data are running ahead of last year (consistent with the post-2001 recovery), but the "baseline" data is less -- which is intriguing.

The Daily Treasury Statement gives us a first: as of January 6, 2010 withholding taxes paid, at $40.0B, are ahead of 2009 taxes paid, which were $38.7B.

Finally, as a special bonus: the breathless headline on Mish's blog today reads: Jobs Contract 24th Straight Month; Unemployment Rate Stays At 10.0%

Ummmmmm... according to the BLS, November's jobs report was revised to a +4,000 jobs. Which, technically speaking, would make December the "first straight month" of job contraction.

Happy weekend, everybody!