From the Department of Labor — the regime cannot be pleased:
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending January 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 399,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 375,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 374,000.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 642,381 in the week ending January 7, an increase of 102,314 from the previous week. There were 773,499 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.
Business Insider’s email said that Bloomberg expected 375K. FXstreet.com had 373K.
Though it is only one week, and a quirky one at that with the holiday built in, it’s a major miss in the wrong direction. It’s a near lock to go to 400K or more after revision next week, given that upward revisions have occurred in 43 of the past 44 weeks.
Bloomberg’s reax, with the help of an “expert” whose 5-Hour Energy drink must have been laced with uppers:
More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, raising the possibility that a greater-than-usual increase in temporary holiday hiring boosted December payrolls.
“Labor demand is still not strong enough to support a complete jobs recovery,” Henry Mo, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York, said before the report. Even so, “the labor market is heading in the right direction.”
A Labor Department spokesman said there was nothing unusual in the data and no states or territories were estimated. The seasonal-adjustment projected a 12 percent increase in claims during the first week of January. Instead, unadjusted applications climbed by 19 percent, he said.
Reuters: “The number of Americans applying for first-time jobless benefits rose on Thursday, reversing a recent decline and suggesting the labor market remains brittle.” That a pretty good word for the situation: “easily damaged or destroyed; fragile; frail.”
Next week, the first full week of business after the Christmas season, will really tell the tale.
UPDATE: I should say “(supposedly) strong Christmas shopping season update,” wherein Bloomberg works mightily to avoid the U-word (unexpectedly) —
Retail Sales in U.S. Rose Less Than Forecast
Sales at U.S. retailers in December rose less than forecast, restrained by cheaper fuel prices and holiday discounting that helped hold down the value of goods sold.
… “Consumers pulled out all the stops to have a decent holiday season, but we’re seeing the momentum from that dropping off,” said Tim Quinlan, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, which correctly forecast the December sales gain. “We suspect the rate of consumer spending will slow.”
… Retail sales were projected to accelerate after rising a previously reported 0.2 percent in November, according to the Bloomberg survey. The 75 economists’ estimates ranged from a decline of 0.2 percent to a gain of 0.9 percent.
What’s annoying about all of this, which anyone actually out there in the real world would have said was a likely outcome, is how we have to constantly endure the press using the tiniest shreds of positive news as excuses to blow sunshine up our butts about the economy, when it really takes several months of truly solid performances in a variety of indicators — something we have never seen since the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy began over 3-1/2 years ago — to make any kind of convincing case that things might be going well.