October 5, 2015

September ISM Non-Manufacturing: 56.9 Percent, Down from 59.0 in August

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 2:25 pm

From the Institute for Supply Management (bolds and most paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September for the 68th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 56.9 percent in September, 2.1 percentage points lower than the August reading of 59 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slower rate.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 60.2 percent, which is 3.7 percentage points lower than the August reading of 63.9 percent, reflecting growth for the 74th consecutive month at a slower rate. The New Orders Index registered 56.7 percent, 6.7 percentage points lower than the reading of 63.4 percent in August.

The Employment Index increased 2.3 percentage points to 58.3 percent from the August reading of 56 percent and indicates growth for the 19th consecutive month. The Prices Index decreased 2.4 percentage points from the August reading of 50.8 percent to 48.4 percent, indicating prices decreased in September for the first time since February of this year.

According to the NMI®, 13 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in September. There has been a cooling off in the rate of growth during the month of September. Also, the trend of lower costs and little pricing power continues as reflected in the contraction of the pricing index. Overall, respondents continue to remain positive about current business conditions.”

… The four industries reporting contraction in September are: Mining; Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Retail Trade; and Other Services.

All three primary GDP drivers (Activity, Orders and Backlog, which came in at 54.5, down from 56.5) came in quite positive, but less so than in August.

Despite what some contrarians are saying there’s nothing worrisome in the overall result.

That said, it’s more than a little surprising that retail is in contraction; the widely touted but still mostly absent “consumer spending revival” was supposed to prevent that.

The 56.9 percent reading provides enough cushion against what I believe is the inherent bias in this and the ISM’s Manufacturing Index, namely that the survey responses they receive come disproportionately from those who are doing well with an under-representation of those who aren’t. Once the reading gets down to perhaps 52.0 or lower but still above the 50.0 breakeven threshold, I believe that one could make the case that Non-Manufacturing in the U.S. economy as a whole would be in contraction. But that’s clearly not the case now.

October 3, 2015

Raw Jobs Numbers the Press Won’t Disclose Paint an Even Uglier Picture Than Currently Reported

In their coverage of government and other economic reports, the business press routinely tells readers that the figures they are relaying are “seasonally adjusted.” That is, raw results are smoothed out to supposedly “remove normal, recurring variations” in data.

There’s one notable exception: The government’s monthly employment report. As has been their habit for as long as I have been following these things, various Associated Press reports in the past several days (examples here, here and here) and at yesterday’s New York Times failed to tag yesterday’s reported gain in payroll jobs of 142,000 as “seasonally adjusted.” There appears to be no reason for this other than to discourage curiosity among those who might otherwise be inclined to dig deeper. Doing so sometimes reveals that the seasonally adjusted figures understate the job market’s strength. Other times, they appear to overstate it. As seen after the jump, especially in the private sector, the poor seasonally adjusted results of the past two months are nowhere near as bad as the underlying raw data:


October 2, 2015

Not News at AP: 10 Straight Months of Declines in Factory Orders and Shipments

Although it was very disappointing, the September Employment Situation Summary, which told us that the economy added only 142,000 seasonally adjusted jobs as hundreds of thousands of Americans withdrew from the labor force, was not the worst economy-related news of the day.

That dubious honor belongs to the Census Bureau’s Factory Orders report. At least the employment report showed more people holding payroll jobs and overall August payroll employment 2 percent greater than a year ago. By contrast the Census report continued a nearly year-long pattern of declining year-over-year orders and shipments accompanied by still-bloated inventories. As anyone could have predicted, Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press completely ignored these alarming trends.


Random Question: Is The Government’s ‘Birth/Death Model’ Padding the Jobs Numbers?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:14 pm

Every month, the government attempts to estimate the net result of jobs added at companies they haven’t found yet (because they’re new or still hiding out there somewhere) and companies that have gone out of business.

The result is the Birth/Death Model adjustment.

But here’s the thing.

The government always presents estimates by industry and then tells us how many not seasonally adjusted jobs were added or lost overall.

But the Birth/Death Model only applies to the private sector.

If we recognize that reality, the Birth/Death model gave us 34,000 of the 525,000 not seasonally adjusted jobs lost in the private sector in September.

It gave us 111,000 of the not seasonally adjusted 24,000 jobs added in August (after today’s downward revision).

You read that right.

Without the Birth/Death Model estimate, August would now be showing a net loss on the ground of 87,000 jobs.

If, as I suspect, the Birth/Death model is overly optimistic these days — it makes sense that it would be, given the continued year-over-year declines in factory orders and shipments this year and even late last year — we’re going eventually see even more downward adjustments to the jobs numbers as the annual comprehensive revisions roll in.

Factory Orders: Yet Another Month (10th in a Row) of Year-Over-Year Declines

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:20 am

From the Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured goods in August, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $8.2 billion or 1.7 percent to $473.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.2 percent July increase.

Shipments, down four of the last five months, decreased $3.2 billion or 0.7 percent to $480.1 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent July decrease.

That’s the 10th month in a row (previous nine are seen at link).

Zero Hedge says it’s the longest such negative streak outside of a recession.

All of this once again begs the question of how GDP can possibly continue growing.

The September Employment Situation Summary (100215): OUCH — Only 142K SA Jobs Added; Prior Months Revised Down 59K; Unemployment Rate Still 5.1 Pct.; Private Sector’s Worst Sept. Since ’09

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am


  • Yahoo’s Business Calendar expects 200,000 payroll jobs added and the unemployment rate staying at 5.1 percent per Briefing.com.
  • “Markets” at Yahoo’s Business Calendar has 205,000 jobs added and no change in the unemployment rate.
  • An Associated Press report on initial unemployment claims yesterday had a prediction of +206K for jobs and the unemployment rate holding.

August adjustment: Everyone seems to assume, based on revisions made in previous years, that August’s number is going to get revised up by 30,000 to 50,000. As I noted last month, even that writeup isn’t going to mean that August was strong, based on how weak the raw numbers were.

Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks for September: Before seasonal adjustment, the economy will need to have added 750,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls and to have lost just 200,000 jobs in the private sector.


September (actually the period between mid-August and mid-September, based on the timing of the underlying surveys) is a period when a lot of government workers in education return to their jobs after having the summer off, while a lot of private-sector workers end their seasonal employment.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full HTML link with tables) This one’s going to leave a mark. August got revised DOWN, not up. September is weak, and the malaise indicators got worse

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care and information, while mining employment fell.

Household Survey Data

In September, the unemployment rate held at 5.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons (7.9 million) changed little. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and
1.3 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (16.3 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks (9.2 percent), Asians (3.6 percent), and Hispanics (6.4 percent) showed little or no change in September.

The civilian labor force participation rate declined to 62.4 percent in September; the rate had been 62.6 percent for the prior 3 months. The employment-population ratio edged down to 59.2 percent in September, after showing little movement for the first 8 months of the year.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in September. Thus far in 2015, job growth has averaged 198,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 260,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in health care and information, while employment in mining continued to decline.

Health care added 34,000 jobs in September, in line with the average increase of 38,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. Hospitals accounted for 16,000 of the jobs gained in September, and employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up (+13,000).

Employment in information increased by 12,000 in September and has increased by 44,000 over the year.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September (+31,000). Job growth has averaged 45,000 per month thus far in 2015, compared with an average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. In September, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+7,000) and in legal services (+5,000).

… Employment in food services and drinking places continued on an upward trend in September (+21,000). Over the year, this industry has added 349,000 jobs.

Employment in mining continued to decline in September (-10,000), with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-7,000). Mining employment has declined by 102,000 since reaching a peak in December 2014.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in September. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime declined by 0.2 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $25.09, changed little (-1 cent), following a 9-cent gain in August. Hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $21.08 in September.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +245,000 to +223,000, and the change for August was revised from +173,000 to +136,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 59,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 167,000 per month.

The latest figures indicate that about 83,000 more people were working in September than were working in August (142K minus 59K in prior-month revisions).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Results:

  • Overall, only 587,000 jobs were added compared to the 750,000 needed. As seen below, that’s the worst September performance since 2010. In the context of previous years, the overall seasonal adjustment looks reasonable.
  • The private sector was horrible. 525,000 jobs were lost compared to the benchmark of 200,000 losses. As seen below that’s the worst September by miles since 2009. In the context of prior years, one could easily argue that the seasonal adjusted result should have come in at about 20,000-40,000, or 80,000-100,000 lower than the reported 118,000. (Update: Upon further review, one could argue that the seasonally adjusted private-sector figure should have been zero).

Here are the ugly adjusted tables after incorporating today’s results:


The private sector results are indeed the “payroll disaster” Zero Hedge is describing. Note that August’s already poor 71K dropped to 24K.


UPDATE (data is seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • The Household Survey shows 236,000 jobs lost in September, and (not kidding) only 5,000 gained since May.
  • “Not in labor force” quantum-leaped by almost 600,000 to 94.61 million.
  • The last time we saw a labor force participation rate of 62.4 percent was October of 1977.
  • Manufacturing employment is down by 27,000 in the past two months.
  • Full-time employment fell by 185,000 to 121.839 million, retreating to a level just below the pre-recession peak of 121.875 million in November 2007 after slightly exceeding it last month. Part-time employment increased by 53,000.
  • Average weekly earnings fell by $2.85 to $865.61. That’s far more telling than the 1 cent drop in the average hourly rate.
  • Is there anyone who really believes that only 7.9 million Americans would be reported as unemployed if BLS was defining it exactly the same way as it was 10 years ago?

I would think that the people who have been so sure of a Fed rate hike aren’t as sure now.

More fundamentally, I would argue that the employment results are finally catching up to the awful orders, production, and shipments figures we’ve seen in hard-number Census Bureau, Federal Reserve and other data this entire calendar year. I would expect that people who believe that the past two months have been aberrations and who expect a return to 200K+/month payroll job adds as far as the eye can see — I’m talking to you, Mark Zandi at Moody’s/ADP — are going to be sorely disappointed.

October 1, 2015

September ISM Manufacturing: 50.2 Percent (Down 0.9 Pct. From Aug.), Barely in Expansion; 11 of 18 Industries in Contraction

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 9:45 am

Per Yahoo’s Business calendar, predictions are for a reading of 50.0 (neither expansion nor contraction) at Briefing.com and 50.6 according to the “markets.”

It’s very difficult to understand why it shouldn’t come in lower, given that six regional surveys covering what is probably a majority of the country’s manufacturing base have all come in strongly negative.

If it does come in positive, I believe it will be primarily for this reason: “… ISM is mostly hearing from the firms that are doing well, and not hearing much, if anything, from those which aren’t.” A little seasonal adjustment cooking in the upward direction may also be on tap, as has been alleged in previous months.

The report will be here at 10:00 a.m.

HERE IT IS (permanent link; bolds after first paragraph are mine; some paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the 33rd consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 76th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The September PMI® registered 50.2 percent, a decrease of 0.9 percentage point from the August reading of 51.1 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 50.1 percent, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from the reading of 51.7 percent in August. The Production Index registered 51.8 percent, 1.8 percentage points below the August reading of 53.6 percent.

The Employment Index registered 50.5 percent, 0.7 percentage point below the August reading of 51.2 percent.

Backlog of Orders registered 41.5 percent, a decrease of 5 percentage points from the August reading of 46.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 38 percent, a decrease of 1 percentage point from the August reading of 39 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 11th consecutive month. The New Export Orders Index registered 46.5 percent, the same reading as in August.

Comments from the panel are mixed with some concern about the global economy and customer confidence.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, seven are reporting growth in September in the following order: Printing & Related Support Activities; Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Paper Products; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

The 11 industries reporting contraction in September — listed in order — are: Primary Metals; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Wood Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Transportation Equipment; and Chemical Products.

The three primary GDP drivers are in weak shape: Orders at 50.2, Production at 51.8, and Backlog at an awful 41.5 (probably the lowest in years).

Translation: Manufacturers are working through their orders at a much faster rate than they are coming in — and barring a major change, they’re going to be running low on work in a very short time.

Given the results of the six regional surveys mentioned earlier, it’s very reasonable to believe — and I believe that it’s actually the case — that manufacturing was in an overall contraction during September — and possibly already was in August.

Initial Unemployment Claims: 277K SA; Raw Claims (215K) 5 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending September 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 267,000. The 4-week moving average was 270,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 271,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 215,483 in the week ending September 26, a decrease of 3,856 (or -1.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 11,741 (or -5.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 227,571 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

There was almost no difference between this year’s seasonal adjustment factor of 77.8 and last year’s 78.0.

Considering the low level of raw claims (even though the year-over-year decline is much lower than in previous weeks), there’s nothing alarming here.

September 30, 2015

September ADP Employment Report: 200,000 Private Sector Jobs Added (With Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 am

From ADP:

Private sector employment increased by 200,000 jobs from August to September according to the September ADP National Employment Report®. … the ADP National Employment Report is produced by ADP® in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics. The report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

… “Businesses with more than 1,000 employees contributed over half of the job gains in September, despite weakness in energy and manufacturing,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and head of the ADP Research Institute. “The largest companies appear to be starting to overcome the impacts of weak global demand and the high dollar, while the smallest companies may have pulled back as concerns about the resiliency of the U.S. economy grew and consumer confidence softened.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The U.S. job machine continues to produce jobs at a strong and consistent pace. Despite job losses in the energy and manufacturing industries, the economy is creating close to 200,000 jobs per month. At this pace full employment is fast approaching.”

August was revised down from 190K to 186K.

July was revised down from 177K to 169K; it was 185K in the original release.


Mark Zandi’s commentary:

  • Another month, another 200K jobs. Very consistent and strong employment growth. 200-225K per month for close to three years. About half of that growth absorbs growth in working-age population.
  • People are finding jobs very quickly. If we take 200K+ plus into mid-2016, we’ll be at full employment.
  • Friday’s employment report will probably come in below 200K, about 190K. Thinks August will get revised up by 30K or so.
  • Turmoil in financial markets and overseas.
  • Some evidence that wages are beginning to accelerate, but still modest. wage growth will pick up in a pronounced way by early next year to spring (6-9 months).
  • JOLTS job opening are rising, which should be a leading indicator for wage growth. 5.7 million open job positions, up 1 million from a year ago and 2 million from 2 years ago. As high as ever.
  • Consumer confidence not back to where you’d expect in an expansion.
  • ADP numbers highlights threats to optimism. First, effects of decline in oil and energy prices. Continued employment declines in resource sector since end of last year (about 85K jobs). Second, from overseas, weak overseas economy, primarily on mfg employment. But vehicle sector is booming.
  • Looks good, lots of momentum. Will be hard to short-circuit the job machine.


From me — re HH Income lag. Wage growth has to happen first. Fed wants to stay at full employment and get economy “hot.” Many years in making. Step 2 is doing something about skewing of income and wealth, a long-running problem. Education, unions, globalization. 30-35 years in making, will take a long time to get it back.

From me — re JOLTS. Based on surveys of companies, not jobs always listed.

From Chris Rugaber, AP — re JOLTS. Weak productivity growth is also causing need for employees to produce what’s needed. Also, increasing skills mismatch issues. Demographics are an issue with a lot of boomers retiring. Zandi has noticed an HR trend of being much more careful in hiring people than 5-10 years ago; don’t hire until you’re absolutely sure it will work out.

From Chris Rugaber, AP — re government shutdown in December (also debt limit). 2013 shutdown (supposedly) cost 0.1% of GDP growth per week. Shutdown might disrupt (supposed) Fed plans to raise rates in December. Odds are better than even that they will make a deal extending past the 2016 elections.

From Jeffrey ___ at MarketWatch — wage growth, Will it not be as fast as it was, therefore leading to mediocre growth? Zandi expects a “hockey stick,” as in it will pick up quickly at some point and accelerate. Once one industry player increases pay it will spread to others, and we will hopefully get there by mid-next year. JOTLS is a leading indicator for that (6-9 mos. leading indicator). Next thing he expects is to see the “quit rate” pick up in a more substantive way, which he expected but hasn’t happened to the expected degree so far.

Richard Leon from Reuters — Fed raise in Oct. or Dec.? Zandi expects December.

September 29, 2015

Not News at AP: Pending Home Sales Index Hits Lowest Level in 5 Months

August’s seasonally adjusted Pending Home Sales Index value contained in the related press release from the National Association of Realtors was the lowest in the past five months, and 2 percent below April’s level.

Disclosing the size of the recent slump apparently wasn’t considered important at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press. What was news at AP, whose Josh Boak essentially copied NAR’s release instead of engaging in informative journalism, is that the index is up by over 6 percent from a year ago, even though that increase ended several months ago.


September 25, 2015

AP’s Reported ‘Fastest Pace’ in Home Sales in Seven Years Really Isn’t

Thursday morning at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, Christopher Rugaber opened his coverage of the Census Bureau’s New Residential Sales report as follows: “Buoyed by steady job gains and low mortgage rates, Americans purchased new homes in August at the fastest pace in more than seven years.”

Sorry, pal, it was the “fastest pace” in — wow — three months. The bureau’s not seasonally adjusted home sales table told us that:


2Q15 GDP (092515): An Annualized 3.9 Percent, Up from Last Estimate of 3.7 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Predictions — Per Yahoo’s business calendar:

  • The “markets” expect an annualized 3.7%, i.e., no change from last month.
  • Briefing.com has 3.5%.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS, and it went up (full text version with tables):

Real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.7 percent. With the third estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed investment increased more than previously estimated.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

Real GDP increased 3.9 percent in the second quarter, after increasing 0.6 percent in the first. The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter reflected an upturn in exports, an acceleration in PCE, a deceleration in imports, an upturn in state and local government spending, and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decelerations in private inventory investment and in federal government spending.

I’ll have the comparative table shortly.


UPDATE: Here it is —


The report shows us that there’s more consuming of services going on. I’d suggest that a portion of it is health care driven by Obamacare, and that it’s doing nothing to increase genuine living standards.

I’ll have to leave it other geniuses to explain how the economy’s production-related numbers can remain flat or declining for so long while GDP comes in pretty healthy — if only for a quarter. Third-quarter estimates are a lot flatter (Moody’s is below an annualized 2 percent, and the Atlanta Fed is at 1.4 percent), but with the disconnect just noted, who knows?

Another observation: The double seasonality crowd got its way in getting the government to further (and probably invalidly) revise the first quarter up from what had been a slight contraction. If they hadn’t done that, the second quarter might have come it at 4.5 percent or more, and there would hosannahs all over.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge — “… the higher the Q2 GDP, the lower the Q3 number will be …”

September 24, 2015

New Home Sales: Not Buying the ‘Good News’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:38 am

If I told you that the same number of new homes were sold in August as in this past February, and that August’s figure was lower than March, April and May, would you be impressed?

Neither am I, but as seen below, that result created the best seasonally adjusted annual new-home sales figure since early 2008:


Before the housing bubble followed by the “new normal” economy, actual August sales were typically among the highest in any month during the calendar year. Thanks to the “new normal,” which has involved false “recovery summers” in six of the past seven years (2014 being the only exception), a mediocre raw August figure seasonally adjusted to something which looks wonderful — but isn’t.

Durable Goods Orders: Down 2.0 Percent in August, Down 4.6 Percent This Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:25 am

From the Census Bureau:

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in August decreased $4.8 billion or 2.0 percent to $236.3 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.

… Shipments

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in August, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased less than $0.1 billion, or virtually unchanged, to $243.2 billion.

… Inventories

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in August, up two of the last three months, increased $0.1 billion, or virtually unchanged, to $401.4 billion.

Year-to-date, not seasonally adjusted orders are down 4.6 percent from last year:


You would expect higher shipments and lower orders to result in lower inventories. Nope — not seasonally adjusted inventories of durable goods — $404.3 billion, per Page 2 of today’s release — are at the highest level on record.

Zero Hedge’s reax:

Paging the NBER: feel free to admit the US is in a recession any time now.

I won’t go that far, but the current malaise is obvious, and is going mostly unreported.

Initial Unemployment Claims (092415): 267K SA; Raw Claims (220K) 8 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:46 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending September 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 267,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 271,750, a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 272,500.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 219,591 in the week ending September 19, an increase of 20,625 (or 10.4 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 18,232 (or 9.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 239,780 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonal adjustment factor this year (82.2) was about the same as for the analogous week last year (81.4).

There’s nothing troubling here. Raw claims are staying quite low.