Reclaiming Common Sense

It is difficult for the impacts of the Government Shutdown on the Economy when the

Government data is not released in a timely manner. This week we received the delayed December New Construction data, the delayed Fourth Quarter GDP data and the timely Weekly Unemployment Claims Data.

(Feb. 26) There are two ways to look at the December New Construction data: This was a weak December and this was the strongest New Construction Year since 2007. Both would be correct.  "December New Construction Data: Best Year since 2007" decided to look at the glass as half full. The month to month growth in Starts, Units Under Construct, and Completions were on the low side of expectations. It was thought that the data would come in more towards the center of expectations. The good news is that this was the best year for all three categories since 2007, which bodes well for the December Sales data. The government shutdown may have slowed applications for new construction loans.

(Feb. 28) Thurs we saw the release of the Advance Fourth Quarter GDP and the Weekly Unemployment claims at 8:30 AM EST. The GDP report was covered and smothered while the weekly claims data was actively ignored. The article "2019 GDP Best End of Year Data Since 2000"   Examined the data. The Advance 4th Quarter GDP for 2015 was 2.5%. The Advance GDP for fourth quarter 2019 was 2.9%. The annualized GDP came in lower than third quarter 2018 and higher than fourth quarter 2017 GDP, as projected. The Same Quarter GDP came in at 3.1%, higher than 2018Q3 and higher than 2017Q4, as projected.

(Feb. 28) The weekly claims data was one of the best for the fourth week of February for first-time unemployment claims, non-seasonally adjusted, back to 1967. Last February we had a lower level of NSA FTU claims at 195,000 claims compared to this year's 202,000 claims. We also have 2 million more covered insured this year. "Solid Weekly Unemployment Claims Data" found something similar for the NSA Continuing Claims data and the Insured unemployment Rate, which remained under 1.50%.

(Mar. 1) Next week Wednesday we will receive the  ADP Payroll report for February.  This past month the Current Employment Statistics data underwent major revisions. The CES data was revised during January 2018 which lead to the ADP data being revised last February. Expect more of the same this year. "Feb. ADP Should Be Strong, Growth in All Sectors" projects month to month and February to February growth in all sectors. The month to month data projects a slightly lower number than the February to February data. Read the article for more details.

Next week there will be a Employment Situation Report Forecast article, the ADP report article, and the start of the Jobs Report analysis, as well as more on the weekly unemployment claims data.

It's the Economy.

PS. The Weekly Continuing Claims data is a different data set than the Current Population Survey (CPS)  for Unemployment and Jobs. The CPS jobs data is different from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) worker and wages data. The CES data is a different data set than the JOLTS data.  It is not proper, statistically speaking, to compare the job openings data with the CPS U-3 unemployment data.