Thursday, December 01, 2005

Well, it's getting towards the end of the week and a mighty fine week it's been for our economy. Here are some highlights.
Monday we found that the holiday weekend sales were up over last year by 22% with a total receipt, including online sales, of $27.8 billion. On Tuesday the Consumer Confidence Index was reported to have risen from 85.2 in October to 98.9 in November, exceeding analyst estimates of 90 and up for the first time in two months.
Today we received reports from the Commerce Department that personal income and spending rose along with construction spending for the month of October. The almighty dollar has been up against the euro and other foreign currencies this week and the Dow Jones is tickling 11,000. These are all good signs of economic strength.
The biggest news came today with the quarterly Gross Domestic Product(GDP) numbers being released. The GDP increased at a rate of 4.3% for the third quarter which spanned the months of July through September. This was the biggest increase in over a year. Projections and estimates ranged from a 3.5% to 4 % increase according to analysts. It should not be lost on anyone that this was the time of both Katrina and Wilma, had they not occurred it is reasonable to believe we would have had a rise of 5% or more.
Finally on the jobs front, October saw an increase of only 56,ooo jobs. This is a notably small increase to be sure but it beats the job loss of September due to the storms. Remember unemployment is a lagging indicator, this means it is one of the last numbers to show a change in response to changes in the economy. Tomorrow the employment report for November comes out and many reports predict a 200,000 job increase, so let's keep watching.


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