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By the Numbers

November 15, 2010 – 6:41 pm

This morning the retail sales report for October was released and it was much better than expected. The experts were looking for an increase of .7% up from last month’s report that was up .6%. Instead the number was 1.2%. They also revised upward the previous two months numbers. There is a small cloud hanging over the report. If autos were removed the increase would have been .4% which is the number that the experts were looking for. Of course every month transportation is part of the report but it is volatile so everyone likes to know what the underlying sales are and that is why they report the numbers with and without transportation.

This report confirms a gradually improving economic picture. The improvement is very slow and is not producing many jobs as yet. On the negative side, the New York area manufacturers’ survey for November fell to a negative reading at a minus 11.1 from the month before of a positive 15.7. Anything above zero is growth and below is shrinkage. This report was lost in the good news from retail sales and the future activity part of the report called for improvement so the impact was muted.

The fact remains that our economy is still sputtering along. Yes, it is improving but it certainly does not feel like it and won’t unless and until jobs are produced. We will need in excess of 150,000 new jobs a month for months before real improvement takes hold.

That may be very tough to come by.

Good Trading
Steve Peasley

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