Thursday, April 15, 2010

NY and Philly Fed Positive; Jobless Claims Negative

From the NY Fed:

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York State manufacturers improved at a rapid pace in April. The general business conditions index rose 9 points, to 31.9. The new orders and shipments indexes advanced as well, and the inventories index climbed to a record high. The prices paid index moved up 12 points to 41.8, its highest level in considerably more than a year, while the prices received index held fairly steady at a level just above zero. Employment indexes rose to high levels, suggesting that employment levels are continuing to improve. Future indexes conveyed an ongoing sense of optimism about the six-month outlook.

From the Philly Fed:

Manufacturing continues to do well.


Claims continue to pile up due to special administrative factors. Initial jobless claims jumped for a second week, up 24,000 in the April 10 week to 484,000. The four-week average is up 7,500 to 457,750 but is still a bit below the month-ago level. Continuing claims for the April 3 week rose 73,000 to 4.639 million, a level that is also the four-week average. Here too, the four-week average is a bit below the month-ago comparison.

The Labor Department attributes the rise in claims not to economic factors but to continuing administrative snags as offices catch up with claims during the shortened Easter week and, in California, for the Cesar Chavez holiday. The department is warning the next report may be affected by quarter-end reclassifications for emergency compensation, but that the chances for downward revisions are greater than for upward revisions.

Given all the noise in the data, expectations are likely to hold for a big gain in April payrolls, at least for now. Equities and commodities fell but only briefly in initial reaction to today's report.

The DOL has been issuing a lot of "clarifications" for this data series -- moreso than normal. There may be genuine issues or it may be something else. However, I believe this is the third time in the last few months we've heard something to the effect of "the economy isn't causing the jump, something else is."

Here is a chart of the data:

The horizotal path taken for the entire year is troubling. It would be very nice to see these data set below the 400,000.