Thursday, April 26, 2012

Should We Be Concerned About the Following?

There have been a few economic statistics over the last few weeks -- coming from the US -- that are concerning, although certainly not fatal.  Consider the following:

Durable goods orders peaked in January a bit below the 216,000 level, but are now declining.  For the last 5 months, the number has clustered around the 208 level.

Initial claims have spiked this month.  While the overall series is still down, these upward moves are concerning, especially considering the weaker reading coming from the latest US employment report (+120,000).

Industrial production has stalled for the last three months.

The above data series are extremely noisy, so it's important not to read too much into the monthly gyrations.  At the same time, all of these are occurring at the same time, which is, in and of itself, a concerning development.