Jobless Down, GDP Up, But Don’t Pop the Champagne

Jobless claims fell 23,000 to 393,000 and the GDP estimate was at 2.7%, an improvement from the 2.0%. Sounds good, huh? Not if you look below the surface as ZeroHedge did.

. Claims missed expectations and prior data was revised higher leaving the four-week-average at its highest since October 2011 jumping back over 400k. More critically, when we dig into the details on the DoL site, we find some rather disturbing trends that totally dismiss Sandy effects. For instance, according to the DoL, there were 30.6k fewer initial claims in New York Last week – when this higher aggregate data point is supposed to be due to ‘Sandy’. FL, MI, and MA saw the largest increases in claims. It seems blaming this trend-break on Sandy is now a non-starter – fiscal cliff front-running perhaps? Election hangover?

As for the GDP,

One glance at today’s second read of Q3 GDP may leave some with the false impression that the US economy is soaring, because after sliding to 1.3% in Q2, and after a preliminary read of 2.0% in the first Q3 estimate, today’s print, which missed estimates of a 2.8% print, did nonetheless rise to 2.7%. “A stunning success”, the administration sycophants would say. Absolutely wrong. Because a quick glance at the underlying numbers shows the true picture of the economy which contracted far more than most expected, with personal consumption collapsing to 1.4% Q/Q, on hopes of a 1.9% rise, and down from 2.0%. In fact, at 0.99% personal consumption expenditures – the core driver of 70% of the US economy – were a tiny 36% of the headline number. Ironically today’s second GDP revision was far worse when analyzed at the component level, than the first Q3 estimate, which while lower overall at 2.0%, at least had personal consumption nearly 50% higher at 1.42%, or well over half of the total contribution. So what drove “growth” in Q3? Nothing short of the most hollow and worst components of GDP: Government Spending, which soared to 0.67% of the annualized number, the first positive print in years, and of course, Inventories, which were responsible for 30% of the headline number. Finally, and most importantly, Fixed Investment, aka CapEx, was a meager 0.1%, or the lowest GDP contribution since Q1 2011. Without CapEx there is no corporate revenue growth (and future hiring intentions) period.

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