Thursday, December 12, 2013

A note about today's initial jobless claims and retail sales data

  - by New Deal democrat

Since I am sure there will be breathlessly wrong Doomer commentary, I just wanted to confirm something you may have already read elsewhere about this morning's initial jobless claims number:  this was due to seasonality (Thanksgiving day falls in different reference weeks in different years) and payback for last week's 298,000 number.   When you average this morning's 368,000 number with last week's revised 300,000 number, you get 334,000, which is right in line with the recent trend.

The 4 week moving average was 328,750, again right in line with the overall recent trend.

Retail sales, however, were a straightforward good number, and especially the upward revision of October to +0.6%.  Since we actually had -0.1% deflation in October, that makes the real retail sales number +0.7%.  November's +0.7% retail sales number will probably have to be adjusted by a +0.3% inflation report, which will make it a net +0.4%.

YoY real retail sales are a pretty good leading indicator for jobs. From mid-2012 through early 2013, YoY real retail sales averaged generally under +2.5%.  Since June of this year, however, with one exception real retail sales YoY growth will have averaged over 3.0%.  This suggests at least a slight strengthening of the monthly jobs report numbers in coming months.

(Note:  corrected for original error of Oct. retail sales of 0.8%.  It does not change the YoY improvement).