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Today’s Data Dump

12/22/2011

Today’s economic data was mixed but generally encouraging.  Weekly jobless claims were better than expected for the third straight week.  Even better, the number of workers on continuing claims dropped from 3.63 million to 3.55 million.  (Of course, that number could drop for the wrong reason, if the current legislative impasse is not broken by year-end.)  The jobs market is definitely improving, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y.

Also, inflation came in a little hotter than expected, 2.1% versus 2.0%.  Most economists worry about inflation.  I consider the creation of some inflation to be a moral imperative at this point.  It would be good for us!  Historically, stocks do best when inflation is running between 2% and 4%.

More worrisome is that the GDP growth for the third quarter was only 1.8%, lower than the expected 2.0%.  Of course, everybody knew Q3 was lousy, just not that lousy.  Expectations for the fourth quarter are 3-4%, which would be a great improvement.

One word of caution in the GDP growth estimate is that the decrease was almost entirely in the consumer consumption of services, which is much more difficult to measure than their consumption of products.

Nothing problematic today . . . now, go help the economy and buy some gifts for your family!!

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