Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's The Economy Stupid: Jobless & Durable Goods



More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as annual auto-plant shutdowns continued to affect data.  Jobless claims rose slightly  by  7,000 to 343,000 in the week ended July 20 from a revised 336,000 the prior period.  The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 340,000. The retooling at carmakers and school closings typical during this time of year continued to influence the figures last week, a spokesman said as the data were released.  Beyond the swings, the job market is improving as firings slow and payroll gains pick up, raising the odds that consumer spending will accelerate in the second half of the year. Fewer dismissals would lay the foundation for larger gains in hiring as the peak of the drag from government budget cuts passes.



Orders for U.S. durable goods rose more than forecast in June, showing a pickup in demand that will help propel manufacturing and the economy in the second half of the year.  Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years increased 4.2 percent after a revised 5.2 percent gain in May that was bigger than initially reported.  However, take out transportation and the durable goods numbers were unchanged.  The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.4 percent advance.  Unfilled orders for big-ticket goods rose the most since December 2007.  Gains in residential real estate and motor vehicle sales are making up for weakness in overseas markets.  A pickup in business investment amid lean inventories would provide a further boost to manufacturing at the same time the effects from federal budget cuts diminish.  The unfilled orders numbers could be a sign of a choke point in the economy.  In a sign industrial production will be sustained, the backlog of orders to factories jumped 2.1 percent in June, the most since the end of 2007. Unfilled orders for non-military capital goods excluding transportation equipment climbed 1.7 percent last month after a 1.2 percent increase.



John Broussard

Assistant State Treasurer

Chief Investment Officer

State of Louisiana

Department of the Treasury



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