Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Initial Jobless Claims GREAT: Durable Goods Numbers Very Bad

From Bloomberg:

Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level since July 2008, reinforcing evidence the labor market is healing.

Jobless claims declined by 34,000 to 407,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 435,000. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance decreased to the lowest in two years, and those on extended payments also fell.

Fewer firings lay the groundwork for a pickup in job creation that will generate incomes and spur consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy. Even with companies firing fewer workers, unemployment will be slow to decline, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest forecast in which policy makers also lowered their growth projections.

This is -- without a doubt -- the best data point I've seen in some time. This number has been stuck in the 450,000 range for the better part of this year. While the length of this elevated number has been consistent with the last two recoveries, their elevated level has been an extremely concerning number. However -- this number is really good and the best print all year. While this is only one data point, it's a really good one.


Orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell 3.3% in October -- the largest decline since January of 2009 -- as transportation orders fell, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a decline of 0.2%. Excluding transportation, new orders fell 2.7% in October - the largest decline since March of 2009. Core durable-goods orders, which are orders for capital goods excluding defense and aircraft, fell 4.5% in October after a 1.9% rise in September.

This number was bad across the board; most sub areas of the report showed a decline. The slowdown in the manufacturing sector continues.