Thursday, December 29, 2011

Economic Reports: Signs of Ongoing Recovery

1. Rail traffic for the week ending December 24 showed strong gains, with carloads up by 11.9% and intermodal volume up by 22.9% compared to the same week last year.  On a year-to-date (YTD) basis for 51 weeks in 2011, carloads are above last year's count by 2.2% and intermodal volume is 5.5% ahead of the 2010 level.  Some of the leading weekly and YTD gains in carload volume have been for lumber (30.1% weekly and 8.8% YTD), motor vehicles (23.2% and 9.7%) and petroleum products (36.4% and 11%), which reflects the underlying growth in the construction, manufacturing and energy sectors.

2. The American Staffing Association's Staffing Index of temporary hiring activity reached a year-to-date high of 93 for the week ending December 18, which was the highest weekly index level since last year at this time.  In contrast, the ASA Staffing Index was only at 80 and 81 in the comparable weeks in the previous years of 2008 and 2009.

3.  The National Association of Realtor's November Pending Home Sales Index reached its highest level in 19 months going back to July 2009 when the index was artificially boosted when buyers rushed to beat the deadline to qualify for the federal government's home buyer tax credit.

4. The Labor Department reported today that the four-week moving average for initial claims fell to a three and-a-half year low of 375,000 for the week ending December 24, and the four-week moving average for continuing claims fell to 3,598,750, the lowest since September 2008, more than three years ago. 

5. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average rose by 4 basis points to 3.95% this week, still incredibly low by historical standards, and probably a factor in the rise in pending home sales.

6. Florida home sales in November showed signs of an improving real estate market in the Sunshine State, with increased sales of 11.4% compared to last year, and median prices stabilizing at the same level as a year ago at around $130,000.   

5 Comments:

At 12/29/2011 5:15 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Nice round-up of info by Dr. perry.

One caveat: The employed to population ratio fell about 5 percent---from 63 percent to 58 percent---through the recession and never recovered.

About one in every 20 people you meet wants to work, but has no job. That's a huge drag on wealth creation, and a decrease on the tax base, and a cause of government outlays.

Inflation is dead, and we need more-robust economic growth.

 
At 12/30/2011 11:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

A good link for a chart of the employment-to-population ratio :

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

And yes there is NO job recovery from 2007 until now.

 
At 12/30/2011 9:33 PM, Blogger james said...

I do not see any recovery. The way the government is slightly all of this data. They can make things appear as though their not as bad as they really are.

 
At 12/30/2011 10:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What a joke. Given the holiday sales we are supposed to see higher rail traffic, more temporary hires, and falling job claims. And if you remember your history, falling rates are a signal of a weak economy. As for real estate sales, they have been overestimated for years now so I see no reason to trust the data now. And if you do look at the data you see a massive overhang of houses ready to come to the market at any sign of recovery. That is not very good for prices unless the USD crashes again.

 
At 1/01/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...



2. The American Staffing Association's Staffing Index of temporary hiring activity reached a year-to-date high of 93 for the week ending December 18, which was the highest weekly index level since last year at this time. In contrast, the ASA Staffing Index was only at 80 and 81 in the comparable weeks in the previous years of 2008 and 2009.

A higher ASA index has not indicated recovery. It has only indicated a willingness to consider workers second-class citizens.

A lower index is a good thing, not a bad thing. It means that they're treating more people like investments, not as second-class citizens.

That, and what is it with staffing/employer groups and their desire to hide lots of information? What do they have to fear from regular citizens?

 

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