When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Unemployment Claims at 2-1/2 Year Low

No one can really deny that the job market is really starting to kick in now.

This past week provided economists a very positive jobless claims report for the February 5 week. It showed a steep 36,000 decline in initial claims to 383,000 for the lowest total in 2-1/2 years.

The Labor Department -- which released the report -- suggested in their comments that the latest level is likely free of seasonal or weather related distortions.

The four-week average, which helps even out weekly distortions, fell a very substantial 16,000 to 415,500.

Adding further fuel to the positive jobs report was the news on Friday that the Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index continues to improve and is approaching its mid-year 2010 recovery high.

The two positive reports added an exclamation point to a week that begin by showing retail sales numbers skyrocketing into February.


  1. Do you think the oil price spikes will cause another recession?

  2. Bill,

    It is not likely in my opinion.

    As you have probably noticed, the recovery is now at the point where it is beginning to not only show quarter after quarter of growth, but also healthy signs of significant job creation.

    Oil prices are one component of the equation, but at current pricing levels are not a threat to cause a major downturn.

  3. Have you retired from blogging?

  4. I miss your comments. Need to put things in perspective and you really help!

  5. Don't stop, now I've finally realised you were well ahead of your time. The good news is that there's not a lot of it - and more to the point, everyone knows it! There's virtually no-one left who can see the wood for all the gloomy trees. Everyone now knows we're in the economic forest and I'd guess that we may stay in it for say 5 years until advances in energy technology allow the global economy to rebalance and grow in a less energy-constrained manner. I remember the aftermath of the mid-seventies when things were boring for years, but the bottom had been made.
    I'm hopeful that it'll be the same again this time round.

  6. Thanks Madsen and Stevie,

    I will be back soon...


  7. come back GNE! I looked in my Google Reader, its been since february!


  8. Eldon,

    What's your take on all the bad news about Europe and the US ratings downgrade?

  9. Bill,

    I am not so concerned about Europe and the debt downgrade. I am keeping my eye on manufacturing activities and continued jobs improvement. If those two continue to grow, so will this recovery.


  10. Here's another view from a co-worker of mine, and Fisher Investments Analyst: Six Things Investors Should Expect for the Rest o 2011. Timely. Cheers!

  11. Eldon,

    It would appear from the ISM and regional manufacturing indexes that we may be headed for a recession. Agree?

  12. Bill,

    Way to early to tell... I certainly will be watching closely the ISM reports on Sept 1 and Oct 1 to discern if any trend exists in that sector. I believe some of the weak regional reports are leftover effects from Japan being offline following the earthquakes and tsunami. But as the more current durable goods report indicates today, that temp lull has not slowed demand. And as anticipated, resulted in a Japan induced snap-back. (today's report was the best in eight years)

    Also remember that the more important retail sector continues to show health and that unemployment claims continue their downward trend.

    Most indications are that the US economy will push through any soft spots (with or without Fed help) and that 2012 will be much stronger than 2011.

  13. Sure looks like the situation in Europe is a replay of the panic of September 2008. Do you agree?

  14. No Bill, not at all.

    Look for a post in the next several weeks to describe my take on the psychology of the market right now. It is very similar to what happened back in the mid-70s. See my earlier post on what I think the market will do this year... side-ways to down... (because -- as you do -- look to the relatively recent events to associate with whats going on now -- which is not valid)... in reality things are completely different now than they were in Sept 2008 and more closely resemble the conditions two years after the negative shock to the financial systems in the mid 70s.

  15. Thoughts on the ECRI call that a recession is upon us based on their index of leading indicators? They seem to have a pretty good track record on calling recessions and recoveries.

  16. I have great respect for the ECRI. However, although we are in a soft patch for growth because of Japan being offline for so long, everything that I see points to a lasting recovery well into 2013.


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