Initial claims for the past week came at 385K on expectations of 388K, just slightly lower from last week's upward revised 401,000 (and imagine what it would look like if we had a 4 handle pre-revision last week: naturally the BLS can not take that risk). Continuing claims were at 3.706 MM, an 80K drop from the prior week, and 44K below expectations. Naturally the prior number was also revised higher from 3,771K to 3,786K but this near-100% revision bias is no news to anyone by now. About 60k Americans were added to EUCs and extended claims in the week ended February 26. At this point it is safe to say that nobody knows how many 99ers are rolling off on a weekly basis from the EUC/Extended claims ranks. And elsewhere the CPI confirmed yesterday's PPI data, in showing that inflation continues to rise for everyone, expect those who don't use energy and eat. CPI increased by 0.5% sequentially in February on expectations of 0.4%, and 2.1% Y/Y. This time even the core CPI increased by more than expectations, rising by 0.2% while consensus called for a 0.1% rise. From the report: "Though the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, the energy index was once again the largest contributor. The gasoline index continued to rise, and the index for household energy turned up in February with all of its components posting increases. Food indexes also continued to rise in February, with sharp increases in the indexes for fresh vegetables and meats contributing to a 0.8 percent increase in the food at home index, the largest since July 2008. The index for all items less food and energy rose in February as well. Most of its major components posted increases, including the indexes for shelter, new vehicles, medical care, and airline fares. The apparel index was one of the few to decline."
And some more on those all important, regardless what the Fed says, food and energy sectors:
The food index rose 0.6 percent in February after rising 0.5 percent in January. The food at home index, up 0.7 percent in January, rose 0.8 percent in February. Five of the six major grocery store food groups posted increases. The index for fruits and vegetables increased the most, rising 2.2 percent as the fresh vegetables index increased 6.7 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs advanced 1.2 percent with the index for meats up 1.9 percent. The dairy and related products index increased 0.6 percent, as did the index for other food at home. The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 1.5 percent in January, advanced 0.2 percent in February. The index for cereals and bakery products, which was unchanged in February, was the only major grocery store food group not to rise. Over the past 12 months, the index for food at home has risen 2.8 percent with all six groups increasing. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in February and has risen 1.6 percent over the past 12 months.
The energy index rose 3.4 percent in February and has risen 9.8 percent over the last three months. The gasoline index continued to increase, climbing 4.7 percent in February after a 3.5 percent rise in January. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 2.2 percent in February.) The index for household energy, which fell 0.2 percent in January, rose 1.3 percent in February. The fuel oil index rose 5.8 percent, the index for natural gas advanced 3.4 percent, and the electricity index increased 0.4 percent. The index for gasoline has risen 19.2 percent over the last 12 months; the household energy index has increased 1.4 percent over that span, with the fuel oil and electricity indexes rising but the index for natural gas declining.