Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reuters Did Not Mince Words: Jobless Claims At 5-Month High -- December 10, 2015

The headline did not mince words, but the lede certainly was spun. LOL. The tea leaves suggest that 2016 is going to be a very, very tough year economically. I am inappropriately optimistic so I would never suggest a recession for 2016 but that's what the tea leaves suggest, based on one data point, as far as I am concerned. Unemployment benefits claims numbers support that one data point.

Link here:
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high last week, but likely does not signal a deterioration in the labor market as the underlying trend remained consistent with tightening conditions.

Other data on Thursday showed cheaper crude oil and a strong dollar keeping imported inflation pressures subdued in November. The reports will probably do little to change views the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next Wednesday for the first time in nearly a decade.
The numbers:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000 for the week ended Dec. 5, the highest level since early July, the Labor Department said.

Claims data tend to be volatile around this time of the year. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it strips out week-to-week volatility, rose only 1,500 to 270,750 last week.
For those keeping score at home, the number of claims surged 13,000 this week; they surged the previous week by 9,000.

GOP Poll

CBS News is reporting:
Thirty-five percent of Republican primary voters support Trump, up 13 points since October, and his highest level of support in CBS News polling.
Ted Cruz (16 percent) has moved into second place, while Ben Carson, who led the October poll, has dropped to third.
Marco Rubio is in fourth place with 9 percent. Jeb Bush is getting the backing of just 3 percent of Republican primary voters nationwide, his lowest percentage to date in CBS News polling. Carly Fiorina's support has also dropped; she is at just 1 percent now.
It's (way past) time to limit the number of GOP white men to five on stage at the next debate. In fact, if I had my way, it would be four on stage, but "even" numbers are unlucky in Japan. But four on stage would eliminate the individual I like least.

California Gun Sales

Fox News is reporting:
Gun sales in California spiked in the days after the deadly Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, in spite of having some of the strictest gun laws in the country – with as many as 6,000 guns being sold a day in the days after two jihadists massacred 14 people.

Figures provided by the California Department of Justice to show that in the four days after the massacre, there were 20,664 sales, compared to only 12,649 from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2.

In November, with the exception of a typical surge around Thanksgiving, there were few days that saw more than 3,000 sales a day, and no days that saw 4,000+ sales. However, after the shooting, there were 6,108 sales on Dec. 4, 6,558 on Dec. 5, 4,500 on Dec. 7 and 5,763 on Dec. 8.

The California Attorney General’s office told that the numbers do reflect gun sales, although roughly 1-2 percent of all sales are later denied for reasons such as criminal histories.

While the AG’s office noted that they frequently see an increase in sales at the end of November and throughout December, the numbers are still significantly higher than in December 2014, which saw 16,443 sales in the same time period. 
The best part of that story? The California Attorney General's comments: roughly 1-2 percent of all sales are later denied for reasons such as criminal histories. That's all? One to two percent. Maybe it's just me but that seems a bit scary. From Newsweek, nearly 20 percent of Americans are affected by mental illness every year:
Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, statistics released Friday reveal.

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