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The Economy Is Not Real In Real Time

My best wishes to all for this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

The economy still seems to be stumbling along, sometimes appearing to dance at recessions edge - and other times seems to be picking up steam. Even though this was a short week - and being late in the month - it did have three data points showing crappy to moderate economic expansion:

I do not know of any other data points released this week which are intuitive of the economy going forward - and historically do not give false warnings of economic downturns. Does this mean things are good going forward? - hell no! Going back to 1Q2008, the economic indicators were jumping around in real time - and it was not until mid 2008 that it was clear there was a recession.

All the above data points released this week historically have backward revision (except rail). It is rail that I keep my eyes on, but depending on the cause of a recession, rail can be one of the later indicators to tank. So nothing is certain.

The Econintersect economic forecast for November 2012 showed barely moderate growth, but the underlying data used to forecast was very mixed. To use a technical term - the data was wacky, and as an analyst leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling. However, the good data was stronger than the bad data, and our alternate forecasting tools validated our forecast.

ECRI is still insisting a recession is here (a 07Sep2012 post on their website). ECRI first stated in September 2011 a recession was coming . The size and depth is unknown. The ECRI WLI growth index value is enjoying its twelfth week in positive territory (but at a nine week low this week). The index is indicating the economy six month from today will be slightly better than it is today.

Current ECRI WLI Growth Index

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Initial unemployment claims fell slightly from and 18 month record high 439,000 (reported last week but revised up this week to 451,000) to 410,000 this week. Hurricane Sandy continues to be the villain. Historically, claims exceeding 400,000 per week usually occur when employment gains are less than the workforce growth, resulting in an increasing unemployment rate (background here and here).

The real gauge - the 4 week moving average - rose significantly from 383,750 (reported last week) to 396,250. Because of the noise (week-to-week movements from abnormal events AND the backward revisions to previous weeks releases), the 4-week average remains the reliable gauge. This is the highest 4 week average in over one year, and is up 1.0% year-over-year.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)

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Bankruptcies this Week: Pipeline Data,

Weekly Economic Release Scorecard:
Shambles on the Right in France
Forexpros Weekly Wrap-Up 23 November 2012
Alan Greenspan and the 'Distorted Economy'
How The "Takers" Voted
What We Read Today 23 November 2012
ECRI's Weekly Leading Index Growth Index at 9 Week Low for w/e16 November 2012
Community Development Venture Capital: Doing Well While Doing Good
Philly Fed Study Explains the JOLTS Separations Rate to Employment Growth
Infographic of the Day: General Education Classes At Universities
Solution II for America: Term-Limits and More!
Determining Risk:Reward Ratios
China: Balancing Political Ideology and Economic Pragmatism
What We Read Today 22 November 2012
The Time is Ripe for Value
Infographic of the Day: Dangers of Crack Cocaine
Book Review: The New Lombard Street - How the Fed Became the Dealer of Last Resort
China: HSBC PMI Breaks Above 50
Feeding the Eagles: The Real Story
Vehicle Traffic Volumes Fell 1.5% in September 2012
Rail Week Ending 17 November 2012: Continues to Show Moderate Economic Growth
Hurricane Sandy: The Beginning of the End of the USA?
What We Read Today 21 November 2012
Final November 2012 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Revised Significantly Down
October 2012 Leading Economic Index Rises Slightly
16 November 2012 Nonfinancial Leverage ANFCI Shows No Recession Looming
17 November 2012 Unemployment Claims: 4 Week Average Jumps Over 2011 Levels
Infographic of the Day: Yah Got the Time?
Silver to Decline
Radio-Collar for a Dollar
Three Outcomes When Placing An Options Trade
New Mystery on Mars: To Be Solved Dec. 3-5
Japan: Exports Decline Again
EU and IMF Feud Blocks Greek Rescue
Macroeconomic Considerations for Global Investing
What We Read Today 20 November 2012
Infographic of the Day: Google's Search Algorithm
Very Strong Growth in Residential Building Sector for October 2012
Wall Street Wishes Petraeus Was the Big Story
Marc Faber, Gold and a Special Picture of Ben Bernanke
Hollande Out of the Closet
Treasury is Using Most of QE3 Dollars This Week
Goldman: U.S. GDP Accelerating UP!!!
Average Gasoline Price Falls $0.021 Week Ending 19 November 2012
Insider Trading 16 November 2012: AGCO Corporation Insider Making Large Purchase
France Credit Rating Downgraded
What We Read Today 19 November 2012
October 2012 Existing Home Sales Very Strong
Infographic of the Day: Holiday Shopping Bargains
Public Banks: Removing Job Growth From the Corrupt Jackboot of Wall Street
Stratfor: Rumors on Gaza Cease Fire
October 2012 Sea Container Counts May Be Showing Improving Economy
Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now
Smart Money Is Buying Gold
News Round Up: Little Thanksgiving in the Eurozone
Feeding the Eagles: Incredible Pictures
Can you Find Opportunity this Thanksgiving Week?
Why Financial Repression Will Fail
What We Read Today 18 November 2012
Evil Genies
Infographic of the Day: Do You Give Your Employer Your Facebook Password
Corporate Execs Decry the Burden of Health Care
New York Fed Chairman: Stop Using Income Taxes for Federal Income
RMB as a Reserve Currency and Chinese Financial Reform
Possible Phishing Scam Masquerading as LinkedIn
Sunday Economic Comedy: Obama Will Allow 10 States To Secede
AUD/USD Technical Report
What We Read Today 17 November 2012
The Idea That US Consumer Is Resilient Is A Myth
Saturday Economics Comedy: Ten Principles of Economics, 10th Anniversary Edition
Infographic of the Day: iPhone vs Android
The Economic Strangling of Joe Sixpack
The Periphery Just Got Bigger
NY Fed Historical Post: 1947 Banking Basics, Step by Step
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.