Superstorm Sandy Skews Employment Reports; US Trade Deficit Shrinks Unexpectedly

Friday, November 09, 2012 08:20
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Superstorm Sandy Skews Employment Reports; US Trade Deficit Shrinks Unexpectedly

Tags: economic indicators | economy | oil

The numbers of people looking for work last week were skewed by Superstorm Sandy last week, said the Department of Labor. One state’s power outages prevented people from filing new claims for benefits.

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Initial claims fell by 8000 during the week of November 3 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000. But extreme weather can hold back filings since attention is commanded by the situation at hand.
 
While filings were prevented in some states by outages, claims were up in others because of job losses caused by the storm.
 
The data November 8 showed the four-week moving average of claims increased by 3250 to 370,500.
 
In other news, a record level of exports in September will cause an upward revision to third quarter economic growth. And the September US trade deficit contracted unexpectedly by 5.1% to $41.55 billion.
 
The decline in the deficit occurred despite rising oil prices resulting from a sharp decline in oil imports.
 
Analysts say that oil will become a less negative factor for trade going forward. The trade deficit with China increased 1.3% during September to $29.06 billion. China is the US’s second largest trading partner. Imports from China by 1.5% and exports to China increased 2.1%.
 
The skewed employment numbers only emphasize that a true reading on employment can only be assessed by taking a broader view considering multiple factors over multiple month periods.
 
These are data you can use to guide your clients in the face of tumultuous market action in the days following the election.
 

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