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Was This A Good Economic Data Week?

Cutting through the crap - the only REAL piece of data this week was personal consumption and income. And your view of this data will be biased by the color of the glasses you wear.

I think the data sucks, and I am in the minority.

As an analyst, I am somewhat influenced by the general perception conveyed in the headline report from the BEA. Do not believe for a second that these headlines are not biased as the methodology is geared towards erring on the high side - not the median as the BEA conveys.

Is this bad? I have mixed feelings. Perception is 99% of any battle, and economies run on perception. If you believe the economy is improving - it is improving. On the other hand, my background is from elements of the economy where perception is your enemy as it distorts your ability to make good decisions.

Having said this, the BEA produces raw data for everyone to do their own analysis. They do not hide the facts to the 0.00001% of the analysts of this data who are willing to dig.

The bottom line is that there are warning signs that the consumer is hunkering down. This may be an anomaly or a trend - we will only know in the coming months.

The Econintersect economic forecast for April 2012 improved marginally, and is now in a zone which says the economy is beginning to grow normally. There are some warning signs that our interpretation is not correct - but we will see how these play out in the coming months. Not to end on a negative note, the majority of pulse points are improving.

The ECRI WLI growth index value has been weakly in positive territory for over four months - but in a noticeable improvement trend. The index is indicating the economy six month from today will be slightly better than it is today.

Current ECRI WLI Growth Index

Initial unemployment claims rose from 332,000 (reported last week) to 357,000 this week. 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 - also worsened from 339,750 (reported last week) to 343,000. 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.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)

Bankruptcies this Week: Otelco, Revel AC

Data released this week which contained economically intuitive components (forward looking) were:

  • Rail movements which are mixed.
  • personal income continues to show slower growth than expenditure. this cannot continue indefinitely.

All other data released this week either does not have enough historical correlation to the economy to be considered intuitive, or is simply a coincident indicator to the economy.

Weekly Economic Release Scorecard:
Economic Forecast April 2013: Light At End of the Tunnel?
Underlying Trends Say The Economy Is Growing Faster
Europe Is Getting Worse By The Day
Could a 'Cyprus-Like' Situation Happen in US? It Already Has
China's Expanding Border Causing Alarm
Robert Rubin: Cyprus Indentifies More Problems than Solutions Weekly Wrap-Up 29 March 2013
What We Read Today 29 March 2013
Final March 2013 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Improves Bounces Back
Markets Closed For Good Friday
Zero Privacy? FBI to spy in real-time on web chats
22 March 2013 ECRI's Weekly Leading Index Growth Again Improves Marginally
February 2013 Real Personal Expenditures Clouded by Low Inflation Figures
Infographic of the Day: Race to the Driverless Car
The Market Typically Pulls Back When Everyone Figures Out It's a Trend
Unintended Consequence of Cyprus "Rescue" Traders' Technical Analysis 28 Mar 2013
Japan: More Bad News
Gold, Cyprus & Europe
How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing
Japan: Kuroda vs. Abe
Fed's Balance Sheet 27 March 2013 Contracts Slightly
A Brief History of Plutocracy Books
Markets Melt Higher, Mark New Highs At The Close
What We Read Today 28 March 2013
Week Ending 23 March 2013: Total Rail Traffic Improves
DOW And SP500 Melt Up To New Highs, Then Back Off
CoreLogic Reports Foreclosure Inventory Down 19% Year-over-Year in February 2013
Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracts for Sixth Month in March 2013
Digital Doom: Cyber-attacks as dangerous as WMDs?
Markets Open Slightly Higher, Remain Flat And Mixed
March 2013 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Declines
23 March 2013 Unemployment Claims Worsen
Third Estimate 4Q2012 GDP Is Economic Expansion of 0.4%, Corporate Profits Up
Barack Obama vs. Richard Nixon
The Coming Natural Gas Explosion
Taxes Predicting Growth
Income Inequality: China, U.S. Increasing, Mexico Decreasing
Cyprus Banks Open Today With Strict Controls
Student Debt Bubble
Prometheus: Gold Consolidation Formation Faces Important Test
John Lounsbury Named Associate Member IADAS
In 20 Years, No More Humans Doing Repetitive, Automated Work?
Here's The Real Time Evidence That The US Economy Is Growing at 2.4% Right Now!
Markets Close Mixed And Flat
What We Read Today 27 March 2013
Is Job Polarization Holding Back the Labor Market?
Indices Recover Somewhat From Session Lows
CrossTalk: Syria as Proxy
February 2013 Pending Home Sales Index Declines
Markets Gap Down At The Opening
Nonfinancial Leverage NFCI Again Less Good w/e 22 March 2013
Infographic of the Day: Revenues and Profits of Tech Giants
Terminal Velocity (2) - 'Casino Britain'
EURUSD Weekly Outlook: 'Cyprosis' and Other Drivers
Why Not a Quantitative Target for Quantitative Easing?
Japan: Bonds Near Record
Michael Hudson: Government Debt and Deficits are Not the Problem
Two Nations Indivisible
Michael Pettis: Europe Still Has a Liquidity Delusion Traders' Technical Analysis 26 Mar 2013
Savers Beware! Confessions from the Leading Edge of the Crisis
What We Read Today 26 March 2013
Averages Close At Previous Highs - What A Joke
Markets Slide Sideways On Low Volume
The Reliability of Chinese Output Figures
Infographic of the Day: Banks in Cyprus Brace for Bailout
Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity Grows Slower in March 2013
Markets Melt Up On Anemic Volume
March 2013 Conference Board Consumer Confidence Back to Bad
February 2013 New Home Sales Growth Were At 14 Month Lows
CoreLogic: Serious Deliquencies Falling Fast in Western States
Case-Shiller Home Prices Strong Growth Continues in January 2012
Durable Goods New Orders Are Mixed in February 2013
Stratfor: Disturbing Precedent in the Cyprus Bailout
Infographic of the Day: Power Ball Lottery
Market Timing Remains Biased To Upside
Cycles for U.S. Dollar Valuation
Can Renault Win This Bet?
Cyprus Banks Will Not Open Today
GBPUSD 25th March - Rebound After the Big Fall?
Week Ending 25 March 2013: Another Small Gasoline Price Decline
Fukushima Spews More Radiation - Due to Tepco's Carelessness
Seven Stocks People Hate but Wall Street Loves
What We Read Today 25 March 2013
Identifying Demand and Supply Shocks in the Oil Market
Police tear gas anti-gay marriage protesters in Paris
March 2013 Texas Manufacturing Survey Shows Growth
CFNAI Super Index Shows An Expanding Economy In February 2013
Infographic of the Day: The 30-Minute, No-Gym Bodyweight Workout
The Week Ahead: More Cyprus Fallout?
Strong Euro, Revised Views
The Real Economic Implications of Our Senior Entitlements Challenge
What Changed Last Week, What Didn't?
Fed 'Earnings' and Treasury Remittances Are Collapsing! What Does It Mean?
Cyprus: The Next Blunder
Trefis: Highlights Week Ending 22 March 2013
Palestinians Reacted Angrily to US President's Visit
If You Believe These Indications, Then Gold Is Headed for $3000 by 2014
Insider Trading 22 March 2013: Insider Purchase of Churchill Downs
Slump in France is Called Prematurely
February 2013 Existing Home Sales Not As Strong As the Headlines
February 2013 Leading Economic Index Continues to Forecast Economic Expansion
Initial Claims Drop 16,000 To Lowest Weekly Level Since 2007, Economists Miss Again
March 2013 Philly Fed Business Outlook Finally Positive
'Merkel seeks votes playing hardball to keep Cyprus afloat'
Cyprus and the Biggest Myth of Banking Today
When Do We Call It A Solvency Crisis?
Deadly riots continue in central Myanmar
Prometheus: Stocks Enter Key Phase of Important Short-term Cycle
Bank Holiday Extends to Cyberspace for Cypriot Banks
How to Fix the Fix
CrossTalk: Cypriot Bail-In
Bleeding Budget: Iraq war over, US taxpayers still paying
'Cyprus levy tipping point for Eurozone between safety & panic'
Prometheus: Dissecting Mainstream Misconceptions about Likely Stock Market Returns
Inside Story Americas - Improving food safety in the US
St. Patrick's Day Hangover Cures Plus A Big Drinking Myth
"Destiny of Destruction Awaits U.S." - North Korea
North Korea Comedy Show : ORIGINAL: North Korea Comedy Show
Prometheus: Dissecting Mainstream Misconceptions about Likely Stock Market Returns
Largest telescope scans alien planets
Gas Fuss: US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over Iran pipeline

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.