Initial Claims Lowest Since Jan 2008 Levels; Import Plunge Leads To Much Lower Trade Deficit

Tyler Durden's picture

Mission Accomplished it would seem. Initial claims printed at its lowest since January 2008 at 324k. This is well below expectations of 345k - the biggest beat since September 2011. California and New York dominated the data with over 70,000 claims between them (though both dropped from last week). Michigan added the most from last month's rolls with 'educational service indurtsy' job losses affecting MA, CT, and RI. Emergency Unemployment Claims appears to have shaken off its statistical aberration of 2013 and is down a modest 12k this week.


Elsewhere, in trade news that total March exports of $184.3 billion and imports of $223.1 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $38.8 billion, down from $43.6 billion in February, revised, and far below the expected number of $42.3 billion. This was driven, however, not by a jump in exports or economic strength, which declined by $1.7 billion in February, but due to a plunge in imports of $6.5 billion, typically confirming economic weakness, mostly of consumer and capital goods as the US economy slowed substantially in March.



In March, the goods deficit decreased $4.6 billion from February to $56.1 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.2 billion from February to $17.3 billion. Exports of goods  decreased $1.8 billion to $130.3 billion, and imports of goods decreased $6.4 billion to $186.5 billion. Exports of services increased $0.1 billion to $53.9 billion, and imports of services decreased $0.1 billion to $36.6 billion.

Unlike before, the import crash was not driven by a reduction in crude.

The February to March decrease in imports of goods reflected decreases in consumer goods ($3.4 billion); capital goods ($1.5 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($1.4 billion); and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.8 billion). An increase occurred in other goods ($0.9 billion). Foods, feeds, and beverages were virtually unchanged.


The February to March decrease in exports of goods reflected decreases in foods, feeds, and beverages ($1.1 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.3 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($0.3 billion); capital goods ($0.3 billion); and consumer goods ($0.3 billion). An increase occurred in other goods ($0.2 billion).

Broken down by geographic sector, the biggest collapse from February in imports occured with China, where the deficit plunged from $23.4 billion to $17.9 billion. We don't even dare to match this number with what China reports its exports to the US were. We are confident it will be a ridiculous comp. Net imports from the EU rose modestly from $8.8 billion to $9.9 billion.

Finally, looking at the effectiveness of Abenomics, and the net Japanese trade deficit, imports from Japan rose from $5.9 billion to $6.6 billion. So much for that export renaissance, at least as far as exports to the US are concerned.

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freewolf7's picture

Me, too, and my boss is a jerk.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

I gave myself a shitty review and 3 warnings so that I can't file a legal claim when I fire myself later this year.


If I lay myself off, can I collect unemployment?

MachoMan's picture

Yep, if you pay unemployment insurance for your business...  but most single shareholder/member entities don't go through the effort on themselves (we can debate whether it's required, but that's irrelevant). 

FL_Conservative's picture

I beat both of you.  I hired myself twice as a part-time employee so I could goose the results and not have to be penalized by Obamacare.

Scro's picture

I'm a shamed to admit this but sometimes I have to jerk my boss off. I'm a dirty little whore.

SheepDog-One's picture

Soon when everyone's died off, then all the numbers will look REALLY good!

natronic's picture

They are working on it now.  The only reason the number was lowest in years was because businesses are running out of people to fire and still be functional.

LetThemEatRand's picture

If there were zero employment, there would be zero new unemployment claims.  Pretty sneaky, Bernanke.

midtowng's picture

Businesses have cut all the fat and most of the muscle too. There's not much left but bone, so they are giving out fewer pink slips.

But that doesn't mean they are about to start hiring.

Gavrikon's picture

Well, you can't fire them all . . . .

Totentänzerlied's picture

When they've fired 3/4 of managers and 4/5 of the officers you can say "cut all the fat", not before. But we know those aren't the people who get cut.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

The jobs in the new normal are part time.

An hours cut in part time work, from 30 to 15, is not a layoff.  No claim can be filed.

Silverhog's picture

So I won't be dead when the the recovery arrives, just in a nursing home.

pods's picture

By the time I get there the nursing home will be nothing more than a doorway leading to a sausage grinder.

Reminds me of the old saying "Oh, we took him to a nice family in the country so he can run around."

Just replace dog with Grandpa.


Cursive's picture

Less jobs, ergo less people in the workforce, and nobody has adjusted the expectations to include a smaller workforce?  Reinhart and Rogoff have nothing on these "analysts."

SheepDog-One's picture

They spent the 90's shipping all our industry and jobs overseas to borrow money from Japan, and now the same people are scratching their heads wondering where's the jobs growth? Unless you're doing some landscaping work or delivering things or picking thru trash, just not much in the way of actual real jobs out there.

Bobbyrib's picture

They're acting like they don't have a clue where the jobs went. They know perfectly well where they sent those jobs.

ekm's picture

Data shows higher or lower acceleration of the deterioration, however deterioration keeps accelerating at different speeds.

ekm's picture

Only one thing in mind:

Iran, Syria


Nothing else explains this madness.

earleflorida's picture

"The Syrian-Iran red line show"  by Pepe Escobar  [May.2,2013]

Hohum's picture

Or maybe the high inventory won't last because of dropping rig counts.  Or maybe it's random noise.

Nah, wouldn't fit with ekm's ideology.

Here's a link for the faction that implies that oil prices better not fall much if production wants to keep rising.

I look forward to ekm's link.

knukles's picture

Educational service industry?
Sounds like the flabby armed lady serving the over boiled Moochterian veggie-lunch to the mindless rabble at the Indoctrination center of Higher Sophistry.
This PC crap is a primary reason for society's failure to communicate

Oh, you lost?
Dead fucking last?
Here's a trophy, you little looser, and don't forget it, dumbshit...
And no dinner either.
Eat your trophy ya little incompetent
Your father will beat the shit out of you
Even your quadriplegic nephews gonna laugh

Rub their nose in last place.
Does wonder for the self esteem

freewolf7's picture

A little Denis Leary to brace yourself for the day:

Dr. Shut the F*ck Up

khotel's picture

At some point, you have to reach "fighting weight" if indeed you intend to stay in the fight.  I would think at this point that a substantial portion of businesses have reached "fighting weight", so there's not a great deal of fat to shed.  That's conjecture, not a proven fact. 

As time moves on, I believe jobless numbers become less relevant.

freewolf7's picture

And given Libor, and precious metal manipulation, and Matt Tabbi's articles, how much can I believe these "numbers"?

docj's picture

Sure - eventually a business runs out of people they can lay-off and still stay in business.

So this is... bullish?

pods's picture

Doc, EVERYTHING is bullish, even depressions.


MachoMan's picture

Exactly.  The driving factor here is margin compression...  layoffs are simply a derivative/necessary conclusion to margin compression.  At some point, businesses are going to get sick of making losses up on volume.

The only question is whether those businesses who can weather the storm are going to reap any rewards...

yrbmegr's picture

Most people believe the numbers reported by the government don't relate to what's going on any more.

fonzannoon's picture

It seems like Bruce Krasting finally realized it's QE4eva and is in the same boat with the rest of us with nothing else to really say anymore.

Village Smithy's picture

Next week's initial claims will include a record breaking upward revision to this week. With all the bad macro news lately Bernanke was getting nervous that Kevin would end up the only buyer left some afternoon and he had to pull some magic out of his hat.

Rayfp65's picture

We're running out of people who are eligible to claim. If you've exhausted your benefits and do not work for at least 6 months (full time), you cannot claim unemployment.

OldE_Ant's picture

lol I was thinking same thing.   Greatest gift to the unemployment rate is for people to just 'drop out' and get on social security disability.  

The new 'American dream'.

Because no-one needs to work ever again!!  Claims to zero and employed to zero and jobless rate to zero.


The FED has signalled Sugar Daddy QE will last forever and ever, because freshly printed money is BETTER than that old stuff made with hard work!

Coming next the 'pirate economy'.  Where thugs with guns riding boats called 'police security' riding on the roads take over rich homes looting gold silver and hot wives and daughters for the up and coming new slave trade.

yrbmegr's picture

I wonder how many homes owned by banks are occupied by squatters right now.

kito's picture

Tyler seems defeated this morning....Shirley there must be some holes to punch in this report.......

freewolf7's picture

We have enough information. Time to get off the computer and gather in the streets. I love ZH, but as long as we are divided on our separate screens, we are not united, standing in front of our banks.

Divide and conquer.

FLHRS's picture

Initial claims are only a portion of the equation.  Take into consideration the number of working age people that have left the workforce since to 2008, increase in part time employment, the number of people on disability, the increase in federal employees and the shift away from manufacturing and other productive employment,

MFLTucson's picture

The PMI hits an all time low, the trade deficit hits a low (no one is buying anything) and claims hit a low?  hmmm, think this is bullshit?  I do!

ebworthen's picture

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

I'm off that list because unemployment ran out and I can't "re-claim" it to keep the statistic real.

Village Smithy's picture

I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you find something soon. Your story is exactly why these stats are just crap.  

BurningFuld's picture

AND Canada is back on top as Number One Importer to the USA! Also the Number One export market for the USA.

ebworthen's picture

I'd bet that the labor participation rate declining corresponds with this claims chart.

I'd also bet that food stamp and SS disability and welfare participation charts are inversely related with this claims chart.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Simpler answer than that.  New jobs are part time. 

A cut in hours is not a layoff.  Can't apply for UE.

q99x2's picture

Good news. No one has to work and no one has to get laid off and no one needs to make more junk and nobody needs to buy anything neither. No one needs gasoline because no one has to go anywhere and as long as I've got my student loans and my books and classmates that chat on my phone and send me electronic things I don't have to do anything ever again. Me thinks I'm an amoeba swimming around in a bowl of warm jelly..

Hohum's picture

Don't get too excited or too down.  YoY unadjusted down about 35K--not that much off trend.