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March 7, 2013

Initial Claims Slightly Better. Productivity down. Trade Deficit up.

March 7, 2013

Initial Claims Slightly Better. Productivity down. Trade Deficit up.

Initial Jobless Claims  (week ended 3/2/2013)

– Initial Claims 340,000

– Previous revised from 344,000 to 347,000

– 4-week Moving Average 348,750

Week over week New Claims were down, in part, because the prior week was revised up.  Rate this as very slightly better because the 4-week average is down.

This is and yesterday’s ADP jobs report are the last key data points before tomorrow’s BLS jobs report—estimates call for 160k-171k new nonfarm jobs created in February vs. 157k jobs created in January.

Challenger Job Cut Report (February 2013)

– Announced Layoffs for February were 55,356 up from 40,430.  The biggest contribution was JP Morgan Chase’s cut of 19,000 jobs.  These announced layoffs occur over time.  In JP Morgan Chase’s case only 4,000 jobs will be eliminated in 2013.

Worker Productivity/Costs (4thQ2012)

– Nonfarm productivity  Quarter/Quarter -1.9%.  The 3 previous quarters were +3.1%, +1.7% and -0.7%

– Unit labor costs  Quarter/Quarter  +4.6%.

Productivity is GDP/hours worked.  Productivity decrease (at least mathematically) because output increase by 0.5% while hours worked increased by 2.5%.

Details from BLS are here   http://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod2.t02.htm

International Trade  (January 2013)

– Trade Balance -$44.4 billion.  Previous was -$38.1 billion.  An increased Trade Gap with flat consumer spending translates into lower GDP.  The increase in Trade Gap was almost entirely from oil.  With oil prices having recently dropped, this is likely to revert.