Ok, I give up. It seems that I have been wrong about, well, everything that I have posted about here for the last 2 years. The economy is strengthening:
U.S. factory activity held near a 2-1/2-year high in December and the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell again last week, suggesting the economy was poised for stronger growth in 2014.
The strengthening fundamentals were underscored by other data on Thursday showing construction spending hit its highest level in nearly five years in November.
“The underlying trends are pointing to the economy accelerating as we move through the year. Conditions seem to be coming together for a very good year,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity stood at 57.0 last month. The index had climbed to 57.3 in November, the highest since April 2011.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion. With a gauge of new orders hitting a 3-1/2-year high and inventories declining, manufacturing activity is set to accelerate early in the year.
So, forgive me for my rants. After all, I don’t have a PhD so I obviously don’t know what I am talking about.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 last week. It was the second straight week of declines.
Though claims continue to be plagued by seasonal volatility, economists said last week’s decline was consistent with an improvement in labor market conditions and was in line with other indicators showing an acceleration in job growth.
A gauge of factory employment in the ISM survey last month touched its highest level since June 2011. There has also been a significant improvement in households’ perceptions of labor market conditions.
“Jobless claims remain at a level consistent with improving labor market conditions. We continue to expect a 215,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls for December,” said Laura Rosner, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York.
Employers added 203,000 new jobs to their payrolls in November and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point to 7 percent. December nonfarm payrolls data will be released on January 10, with the median of forecasts from analysts polled by Reuters calling for 193,000 new jobs last month.
Unemployment is down. Manufacturing is up. Consumer spending is increasing.
You read it here first:
ALL IS WELL!!!