The big story in economic developments for the US is the latest report on initial unemployment filings. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level 49 years, since the week ended December 6th 1969.
This is a surprising statistic that implies that the monthly employment data due out tomorrow, April 5 will be excellent. The good news comes just in time for President Trump who is under renewed pressure from the latest Muller report saga, where people who worked on the investigations have come forward saying that the evidence against the President is far more damaging than AG Barr has reported.
The US economy meanwhile is doing very well. Aside from the low initial unemployment filings and the Challenger job cuts report in March came in at 60.6 thousand, down from 76.8 thousand in February. This month looks like it will be one of the best months for employment.
Now the big question is how long will the good times last? Probably for several months longer, but there will be a day of reckoning and many economists here believe it will be a sad day when it comes and it will hit people by surprise with devastating consequences.
Further on US economic developments, the various indicators released this week generally were up from the preceding month, but they still paint an uneven picture for the economy. Expectations are that the US economy will cool further and that the global outlook is quite dim.
Retail sales in February rose only 2.2% y/y, down from a 2.8% increase in January. The modest decline is not very significant. It is clearly part of the current economic slowdown.
The ISM manufacturing purchasing managers index in March rose to 55.3 from 54.2 the month before. New orders climbed to 57.4 from 55.5 and employment advanced to 57.5 from 52.3.
Durable goods orders in February fell 1.6% after a 0.15 increase the month before. Durable goods orders ex-defense in February were down 1.9% vs. an 0.4% increase in January. Orders ex-transportation rose 0.1% vs. -0.1% in January. Considering that car sales for Fiat-Chrysler and for Toyota fell significantly in February it is not surprising that durable goods orders were weak.