Get ready for the "it's all Sandy's fault" barrage, because the post-reelection status quo sure will desperately need it today. The latest initial claims data posted a multi-year high 104,548 surge in weekly NSA claims from 361,800 to 466,348, and even the Seasonally adjusted number soaring from 361K to 439K on expectations of a 375K print. In other words, a complete disaster for any economic data bulls. What is truly amusing is that the same Wall Street "experts" who set expectations were unable to foresee the Sandy effect that every "macrotourist" on Twitter apparently is so very aware of. Also, it is apparently also "Sandy's fault" (now that the Bush excuse is back in retirement) that the prior week's claims were revised from 355K to 361K. Basically, just as we said 3 weeks ago, ignore every negative data point: it is Sandy's fault. However, for the snapback, when there actually is good news to be had, well, "four more years." Finally, to all the Sandy apologists: is the logic here that: if Hurricane, then Fire everyone? Because that is what is implied. To summarize: a hurricane is good for GDP (lots of broken windows), but any actually negative news (surge in firings) is perfectly expected.
Here is a list of all the consensus misses since 1999, courtesy of John Lohman. With a miss of 64K, "we are #2, baby."
But that's not all.
Read this to get a sense of the complete goalseeked and manipulated farce that are BLS data.
Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press. The extent of the damage means it may take weeks for the underlying trend in firings to again become clear. Before the storm, the labor market was gaining momentum even as year-end domestic fiscal policy uncertainties raised concern among businesses. The Labor Department spokesman did not name the affected states, citing agency policy not to single out any one area. Today’s report showed a loss of electricity prevented New York offices from taking claims two weeks ago. In addition, since Monday was a government holiday, three states and territories -- Hawaii, Oregon and Puerto Rico -- didn’t report claims data, causing the Labor Department to estimate their totals, the spokesman said. Two others, California and Virginia, provided their own estimates.
Bottom line: guesswork, no actual data reporting, and hurricane excuses. Spin, Spin, and more post-election Spin.
At least CPI came in at 0.1%, in line with expectations, down from 0.6% before, driven by a drop in energy prices, even as Transportation Services, Electricity and Food at home posted multi-month highs.
Finally, the Empire Manufacturing Index printed at -5.22, the 4th consecutive negative print, better than the expected -8, even as Number of Employees index plunged from -1.08 to -14.61. Shhhh. Sandy's fault too....