Today’s Economic News

Things that make you go hmmm: Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics weekly jobless claims number was apparently released 15 minutes before the 7:30 CST a.m. announcement.

Bloomberg reported:

“Jobless claims data were available on Labor Dept. website about 15 minutes before scheduled 8:30am release today, Stone & McCarthy Research Associates economic analyst Terry Sheehan says.” Now aside from the fact that SMRA should be commended for chacking the website early and getting a critical advance look at today’s most important data point, we have some questions:
Who broke the embargo and why?
Who else had even earlier advance access to the data?
Why did the BLS have this glitch?
And most importantly, especially in light of the recent scandal about the BLS leaking data selectively early, just how is the BLS policing itself from such erroneous data releases, and if the answer is non-existant, can the BLS announce whether it has preferential “huddle” agreements with anyone when it comes to leaking data as it did today?”

Good questions. Remember it was discovered the Democrat governor of North Carolina, Beverly Perdue, was getting advanced notice of the monthly numbers, which is against all rules? Now here’s another instance. Hmm.

Incidentally, the jobless claims dropped 6,000 to 361,000. But before you start popping champagne, ZeroHedge alerts us to other data:

As we noted last night, inventory destocking is the great unknown as far as consensus expectations and the wholesale inventories data this morning just confirmed that this is a worrying trend. With the first drop MoM since September 2011 and dramatically missing expectations, inventories dropped 0.2% and perhaps more worryingly – given the drop in inventories – is the critical inventory-to-sales ratio has now risen two months in a row as clearly sales are dropping faster than companies were expecting.

Then, he quotes:

Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort index slipped back below -40 this week (despite all the market ebullience) indicating empirically at least a period of severe economic discontent among the most critical segment of our economy. Worst still, the outlook for the economy is its weakest in six months and the last two months have seen confidence on the economy plunge its fastest in 13 months.

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