8:56 AM, Dec 12, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Initial jobless claims rose 68,000 to 368,000 as per this morning’s figures. This:
… was the largest weekly increase since November 2012. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Comes unexpectedly, of course, and now, the same people who didn’t expect it will get busy and start explaining it. When they are finished, the thing will appear to have been utterly predictable. And, either a big deal or no deal at all.
Safe to say that it is not unalloyed good news. What it means for “tapering, Hillary’s chances in 2016, and the likelihood of snow at the Super Bowl … the experts will soon let us know.
12:00 AM, Dec 7, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
“Everything’s coming up roses,” a mother reassures her daughter in Gypsy, the 1959 musical chronicling the rise of burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee.
8:31 AM, Dec 6, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The unemployment rate declined from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 203,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in transportation and warehousing, health care, and manufacturing.
Household Survey Data
1:14 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In a routine, short-run economic downturn, people tend to adopt more healthy behaviors. You quit smoking and cut back on the drinking because … well, maybe to save money and maybe because you tend to focus more on the essentials and live less indulgently. But our current long, lingering economic malaise seems to have pushed people toward unhealthy choices. For release, perhaps, or from a fatalistic sense that things may not get better and so what.
12:01 PM, Dec 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
We’ve grown accustomed to waiting for news on the economy that would signal a return to movement and growth. And, mostly, there is a forlorn quality to the waiting with most of the news indicating a continuing stalemate. Latest reports from the retail front are not reassuring. As Matt Townsend at Bloomberg reports:
12:00 AM, Nov 23, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Go into almost any shop and hear Christmas carols and read signs trumpeting enormous discounts. Unusual, since the scramble for discounts traditionally begins after, not before, the first turkey has made the ultimate sacrifice to celebrants of Thanksgiving. By the end of next week, 45 million turkeys will have moved from farm to plate to palate, and the discount wars will be in full flow.
9:46 AM, Nov 19, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Cotten Timberlake of Bloomberg reports that the big retailers are:
... discounting earlier than ever as they brace for the weakest holiday shopping season since 2009.
7:04 AM, Nov 19, 2013 • By JEFFREY BELL
The nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve has come down to this: a referendum on quantitative easing and zero interest rates. The money-printing program that Ben Bernanke started five years ago this month remains Yellen’s answer for how the economy will get back on solid ground. Yet in her appearance at Thursday’s Senate Banking hearing, a bipartisan group of senators expressed dismay that Fed money printing has widened the wealth gap while fueling potential asset bubbles.
9:00 AM, Nov 18, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Washington, D.C. is booming. That's in large part because of a massive growth in lobbying expenditures and federal contracts.
12:00 AM, Nov 16, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
In Geneva, the famous “Pink Star” diamond fetches $83 million at auction, almost double the price ever paid for such a stone, and in Arkansas, Walmart lowers its sales outlook for the holiday season. That might be a metaphor for the holiday shopping season, where grouchy retailers are predicting a relatively tiny 3 percent increase in sales over last year.
3:15 PM, Nov 14, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The White House will not be dismayed. In the wake of yesterday’s Obamacare enrollment numbers, it Tweeted out a song of joy.
12:00 AM, Nov 9, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
That’s the way globalization ends, not with one large headline, but with several changes in the direction of policy, caused by events seemingly unrelated to the policy changes they produce. That’s bad news for those who believe that freer trade and an increase in the international flow of capital -- the principal manifestations of globalization -- contribute to efficiency, rising incomes and job creation. And they know who to blame -- Edward Snowden and Barack Obama.
10:15 AM, Nov 2, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Some attribute the recent spate of less-than-encouraging news about the U.S. economy to the government shutdown, the battle over the debt ceiling, and to the reprise due in a relatively few weeks. They point to the decline in consumer confidence during and immediately after the shutdown: the Conference Board’s household confidence index plunged last week from 80.2 in September to 71.2, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index also dropped. Tellingly, the compilers of the Michigan index report that negative mention of the federal government was “the highest in more than a half-century of the surveys.”
12:52 PM, Oct 31, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama attended a Democratic fund raising event in Weston, Massachusetts Wednesday night at the home of Alan and Susan Solomont. Among the 60 attendees were a number of high-profile Democrats, according to the Boston Globe: