- by New Deal democrat
Monthly March data released in the past week was dominated by the jobs report, showing only 88,000 jobs had been created. Despite that, aggregate hours worked increased significantly. The unemployment rate declined, with the normal issue about how much is due to workers simply giving up looking vs. the wave of Boomer retirements. The ISM reported that manufacturing activity decelerated to just slightly positive, and services activity decelerated slightly. Vehicle sales declined very slightly. Consumer credit for February was up, while January was revised down.
Let's start this week's look at the high frequency weekly indicators by noting some increasingly negative data:
Initial jobless claims
- 385,000 up 28,000
- 4 week average 354,250 up 11,250
- flat at 91 w/w up 2.4% YoY
Initial claims had established a new lower range of between 330,000 to 375,000 this year. In the last two years, beginning at the end of the first quarter there has been a spike of 20,000+ in jobless applications, and we certainly have seen the pattern repeat in the last two weeks. The ASA is still running slighty below 2007, and slightly ahead of last year.
Daily Treasury Statement tax withholding
- $145.8 B (adjusted for 2013 payroll tax withholding changes) vs. $151.8 B, -4% YoY for the last 20 days. The unadjusted result was $169.7 B for a 11.8% increase.
- $186.6 B was collected during the month of March vs. $166.4 B unadjusted in 2012, a 12% increase YoY.
Railroad transport from the AAR
- -5500 or -1.9% carloads YoY
- -3300 or -1.8% carloads ex-coal
- -11,200 or -3.8% intermodal units
- -14,800 or -2.8% YoY total loads
- ICSC +4.7% w/w +1.9% YoY
- Johnson Redbook +3.5%YoY
- Gallup daily consumer spending 14 day average at $81 up $4 YoY
- YoY this week. +4.0%
Real estate loans, from the FRB H8 report:
- down 3 or -0.1% w/w
- down 2 or -0.1% YoY
- +1.9% from its bottom
Mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association:
- +1% w/w purchase applications
- +4% YoY purchase applications
- -6% w/w refinance applications
Interest rates and credit spreads
- 4.83% BAA corporate bonds down -0.02%
- 1.90% 10 year treasury bonds down -0.04%
- 2.93% credit spread between corporates and treasuries up +0.02%
- +1.5% w/w
- -0.9% m/m
- +8.1% YoY Real M1
- +0.2% w/w
- +0.3% m/m
- +4.7% YoY Real M2
Oil prices and usage
- Oil $92.37 down -$4.70 w/w
- gas $3.65 down $0.03 w/w
- Usage 4 week average YoY +1.7%
Bank lending rates
JoC ECRI Commodity prices
- down 0.77 to 127.32 w/w
- +2.55 YoY
The positives include housing prices and mortgage applications, gas prices lower than one or two years ago, and increasing petroleum usage. Money supply is positive, although less so than previously. Commodities are mildly positive. Consumer spending as measured by Johnson Redbook is positive, as is Gallup although Gallup is much less positive than the last 4 months.
Basically neutral indicators include shipping rates, interest rates, temporary jobs, and depending on the reference point, tax withholding. Overnight banking loans haven't budged.
Negatives have expanded to include rail transport, real estate loans, credit spreads, and initial jobless claims.
The tone remains had been positive, but muted, in the last several months. It is now tilting a little more towards negativity. My suspicion is that the combination of the payroll tax increase and sequestered budget cuts are now showing up int he high frequency data. This is not good.
Have a nice weekend.