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Confusing Statistics

March 1, 2013 – 6:06 pm

dow_jones_stock_market_results (1)There was a blizzard of economic numbers out this week with this morning’s major reports moving the market. Personal Income for January fell sharply by 3.6% which was a major surprise. It was expected to fall but by only 2.6% and that was from a rise the previous month of 2.6%. Still with income down the Consumer Spending report for the same month was up .2% in line with expectations. The consumer had less money coming in but spent more.

The ISM manufacturing number for February was up to 54.2 which was also a surprise as it was expected to fall from January to 52.5 from 53.1. On the other hand construction spending fell 2.1% when it was expected to rise .7% while the previous month came in at an increase of 1.1%.

If you are not confused yet you should be. Economic numbers are showing improvement but it is erratic.

The one number I like to watch closely is the weekly unemployment claims. They fell sharply to 344,000 from last week’s 362,000. The four week average shows improvement. Maybe that will translate into jobs! It is jobs that this economy needs. The unemployment rate we see coming out of Washington is not real. The percentage of the eligible work force not working is very high and the only way to fix that is jobs.

Good Trading
Steve Peasley

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