Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season for a Woeful Economy... fa-la-la-la-la... la-la la la....

3rd Quarter growth weak due to cut in inventories.

The U.S. economy grew more slowly than previously estimated in the third quarter... Gross domestic product grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate on Tuesday, down from the previously reported 2.5 percent...

The government revised third-quarter output to account for an $8.5 billion drop in business inventories, the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The November unemployment rate drops to 8.6%. Reeeeally???

There are three elements that U-6 tracks that the official U-3 does not – “discouraged” workers (which is not nearly the same as the “want a job but haven’t looked lately” number mentioned above), those who hadn’t searched for work in the last 4 weeks because of reasons other than the job market (both not seasonally adjusted, and together being the number of those marginally attached to the workforce), and those employed part-time because of economic reasons.

The number of “discouraged” workers rose from October’s 967,000 to 1,096,000 in November, though the BLS does note that November 2011′s number is less than November 2010′s 1,282,000.

So, what about those questionable unemployment numbers.

The civilian participation rate in the workforce dropped 0.2% to 64.0% last month, barely above the 30-year low of 63.9% achieved in July of this year. The reason that both the topline and U-6 numbers declined is that both are based on the base number of workers, actual and potential, in the labor force that have plummeted in the last two years. The dramatic reduction in this number is what allowed a gain of only 120,000 jobs — which only covers the population growth in a month — drop unemployment by 0.4%.

In other words, the drop isn’t an indication of hope — it’s an indication of despair.

The "400,000 benchmark" myth explained.

Retail sales for November aren't so hot (so much for Black Friday saving the day).

Retail sales grew at their slowest pace in five months in November, tempering expectations for a strong holiday shopping season.

Retail sales increased a weaker-than-expected 0.2 percent after gaining 0.6 percent in October, a Commerce Department reportshowed on Tuesday...

Some of the weakness in the November retail sales might be because stores discounted heavily to attract customers, said Millan Mulraine, a macro strategist at TD Securities in New York.

"It's fairly disappointing given that all the evidence was pointing to fairly strong gains during the month," said Mulraine.

Oh, yeah... and that 2.0% growth for the 3rd quarter I posted just a few inches above in this post? Ahem... it's actually been revised downward to 1.8%.

Meanwhile, S&P warns all 17 Euro nations that they could be downgraded if things don't improve there.

Fitch ups the timeframe of a possible downgrade of France.

Fitch also warns of a possible downgrade of the U.S. rating (something S&P already did this summer).

No comments: