Initial Jobless Claims Continue Slide, PPI Below Expectations, Housing Start Small Beat

The onslaught of 'favorable' jobs numbers continues with the latest initial claims printing at 348K, down from an upward revised 361K, on expectations of a rise to 365K. This was the lowest number since March 2008. As a reminder, the abnormally warm January and February weather as discussed previously by David Rosenberg is a key reason in the ongoing favorable impression of the economy that this data skew creates. Granted the self-delusion of employers is just as palpable as that of market participants: claims went from sub 400K in the days before Lehman to nearly 600K in the weeks after. Continuing claims printed at 3.426MM down from 3.526MM, on expectations of 3.495K. Those seeing the 99-week expire increased as 23K people dropped out of EUCs and Extended Claims. Expect to see this "favorable" trend reverse within weeks, as the groundwork for more easing has to be set (more on that shortly). Elsewhere, the headline PPI came below expectations of 0.4%, printing at 0.1%, up from -0.1% previously, while Core PPI, paradoxically, beat this time, rising from 0.3% to 0.4%, on consensus of a decline to 0.2%. Finally Housing Starts was a meaningless and noisy 699K on expectations of 675K, where it has been crawling along the bottom for years. Permits Missed Expectations of 680K coming at 676K.

Adding inventory at rock bottom: