Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weekly Indicators for June 4, 2010

- by New Deal democrat

Monthly data as usual was headlined by the jobs number, am extremely disappointing +20,000 without census jobs. The internals -- overtime, hours worked, income, temp jobs, and the unemploymnent rate -- were generally better, but 300,000 people left the work force, and the situation is still intolerably bad.

On the other hand, both the ISM Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Indexes showed continued growth indicating the recovery does continue. May monthly same store sales wer up +2.6% YoY. Auto sales were also up 19% over last year's awful numbers, and up MoM from April, to approximately 11.6 million on an annulalized basis.

Turning to the weekly indicators:

The ICSC reported that year over year sales were up 2.5% from last year for the week ending May 29th. They were also up +0.6% from the previous week. Shoppertrak reported that YoY retail sales increased 6.0% for the week ending May 29, and belatedly reported that YoY sales were also up 3.9% for the previous week.

The price of Gas fell again to $2.73, a decline of $0.17 or about 6% from its high of $2.90 three weeks ago. The 4 week average of usage last week is virtually identical to last year. The price of a barrel of Oil is now only about 5% higher than last year at ~$72/barrel.

The BLS reported 450,000 new jobless claims last week. The inability of this indicator to decline below 440,000 suggests this aspect of recovery is stalling. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing from what sector this continued elevated level of layoffs is coming from, but the suspicion is that it consists of construction jobs post expiration of the housing credit, and state and municipal workers.

The American Staffing Association's weekly index of temporary employment yet again, up 1.23%.

Rail traffic remains up from last year, but its comparative increase has stalled for four weeks in a row now, indicating a pause in the recovery.

Daily treasury receipts were up for the first 3 days of June, $34.2B vs. $31.2B a year ago. May finished just barely ahead of last year, $126.8B vs. $126.0.
In the last 2 weeks of May only $69.0B was collected vs. $71.2B a year ago -- and last year was awful.

The last few weeks have shown all the signs that another spasm of deflation is underway -- driven by Europe, a decline from April's near $90 price of Oil, the expiration of the $8000 housing credit, and the Oil cataclysm in the Gulf of Mexico. As of now, however, I continue to think this will just be a slowdown in growth rather than an actual double-dip into negative GDP.