Economic Data Roundup: More Suck. Everywhere.



Nothing good here…

In the week ending September 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 428,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 417,000. The 4-week moving average was 419,500, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 415,500.

Oh look, it’s going up again!  What do we blame this time?  I’m sure we can find something….. (How about “Your policies suck Mr. President and Congress?”)

There’s nothing worthwhile in the extended claims data – the total dropped by 25,000 in the August 27th week, but the increases the last couple of weeks are not yet in these numbers.  They will be, but not until we get right up against the employment report for September.

Note that with the claims numbers we’re seeing and the trend direction the risk of a negative September NFP report is climbing fast.  If you’re wondering what’s feeding the panic level in Obama’s White House with his “jobs” bill look no further than this series.

CPI: Smoking!

What’s the “misery index” again?  I seem to remember it being 12-month chained inflation and unemployment.  Well?

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.

But but but…. there’s no inflation, right?

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in August, the same increase as the previous month. Shelter and apparel were the biggest contributors, though the indexes for most of its major components posted increases, including used cars and trucks, medical care, household furnishings and operations, recreation, tobacco, and personal care. The new vehicles index, unchanged for the second month in a row, was an exception.

The “but it’s all energy prices and they’re volatile” excuse is long in the tooth and running out of gas.  That dog won’t hunt any more folks….

The energy index has risen 18.4 percent over the last year, while the food index has increased 4.6 percent.

Of course Senior Citizens who were prudent and saved don’t have a problem with this, right?  After all they don’t need to buy food or energy… and neither does anyone else…. right?

This doesn’t disproportionately hit the lower class and working poor, does it?  I mean, food and energy aren’t a disproportionate amount of their spending, are they?


There are some big numbers in the tables – of note are virtually everything food-related, up 4% or better across the board with some things such as meats and dairy up 8 and 9% respectively.  Fuel oil was up a stunning 27%, water and sewer services up nearly 5%, apparel up 4% and private transportation costs up an eye-popping 12% – with public transport costs skyrocketing as well (7.2%).

Hospitals jacked people for 6.2% more while higher education screwed you to the tune of 4.4%.

These are annualized changes (from August 2010) and put into stark relief exactly what sort of squeeze has been felt by the common person.  Everyone loves to talk about “oh it’s 0.2% this month” but few will go back and look at who this hits and how hard – and how it all looks on a annualized basis.

When you look at the monthly change in these categories you find no joy either.  Monthly change on food was 0.6; annualized that’s 7.4%.  Apparel was up 2.3% last month, which you better hope doesn’t continue (as it’s an annualized rate of change of 31%!)  Both private and public transport, thank God, did level off this last month.

In short while the inflation trend may be slowing down for the lower class and working poor the damage has already been done.

Make sure you thank Ben and Obama.

Empire Manufacturing: More Suck Part Deux

No joy found in here….

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers worsened for a fourth consecutive month in September. The general business conditions index inched down one point, to -8.8. The new orders index held steady at -8.0, while the shipments index dropped sixteen points to -12.9. The inventories index, negative for a third month in a row, fell to -12.0—a sign that inventories continued to decline. After dropping significantly over the summer, the indexes for both prices paid and prices received climbed several points, suggesting that the pace of price increases picked up. Employment indexes were below zero, indicating that employment levels and hours worked fell over the month.

In other words it all sucks, basically – while prices are picking up again into collapsing demand.

What’s worse is that the forward expectations for employment are now zero (no growth) and for the workweek are negative for the second month in a row.  This is a seriously bad indication of forward economic activity, and comes into major softening in the other regional indices.

We’re rapidly piling up the “recession” indicators, exactly as I expected would happen a year ago when the PPI changes started to come into the focus.

Brace for the impact folks – this ride is going to get very rough in the terms that matter the most to you – jobs.

Philly Fed: Sucks, But Better Than Traders Expected

When you get a crap number and the market goes up you know the expectation was “Armageddon.”

Responses to the Business Outlook Survey this month suggest that regional manufacturing activity is continuing to contract, but declines are less widespread than in August. The survey’s broad indicators for activity, shipments, and new orders all remained negative for the second consecutive month. Responding firms, however, indicated that employment was slightly higher this month. The broadest indicator of future activity remained positive and rebounded this month, suggesting that recent declines are not expected to continue over the next six months.

Eh, I’m not impressed.

One good numbers in there – the employees number stopped falling apart.  But – the workweek did not, which makes one wonder whether seasonal factors are involved in this more than anything else.  I cannot get excited about alleged “stabilization” in employment in that survey with hours worked declining as that directly contradicts the alleged improvement in the employee numbers.

 The Market-Ticker