Unemployment Claims And Other Assorted Bits Of Data

Here’s some quick economic data.

New claims for unemployment benefits last week dropped to 631,000 from 643,000 the week before. The four week moving average fell from 632,000 to 628,500. No reason to break out the good champagne on those numbers.

Here’s the summary of the Philly Fed’s monthly survey:

According to respondents to the May survey, activity in the region’s manufacturing sector continued to decline this month. But evidence that declines are moderating was again present. While the broad indicators remained negative, most have improved from April. Responses to special questions offered corroboration that declines have been moderating for a significant proportion of firms. Most broad indicators for future business conditions improved markedly again this month, suggesting that an increasing number of the region’s manufacturing executives expect a recovery in business activity before the end of the year.

And finally for the green shootists out there, some good news on leading economic indicators:

A private research’s group forecast of economic activity rose more than expected in April, the first gain in seven months and fresh evidence that the recession could end later this year.

The Conference Board said Thursday its index of leading economic indicators, designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months, rose 1 percent last month. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 0.8 percent increase.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said that means declines in activity could switch to growth in the overall economy in the second half of the year. The recession began in December 2007.

In April, the index posted its biggest gain since November 2005, said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. It is now even with its level from last November.

Kind of the same old news, things don’t seem to be getting worse but there sure isn’t any sign of any real upward momentum.

more: here (Unemployment), here (Philly Fed) and here (Leading Indicators)

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