24 December 2008

Economics Update

Ouch. Initial jobless claims for last week hit 586,000, the highest number since Nov. 27, 1982. The 4 week rolling average, which is a better metric, rose as well, to 558,000, though continuing claims declined to 4.370 million.

Even if you do have a job, it's likely that you are seeing wages and or hour cut....And that 401(k) match, fuggedaboudit.

It's no wonder that consumer spending fell in November, though it was less than expected, and when adjusted for inflation....OK, adjusted for deflation....It was actually up.

As Calculated Risk notes even as record low mortgage rates are boosting demand, a lot of that ReFi, the spread between "conforming" and "jumbo" 30 year fixed mortgages remain at an all time high of about 2%, which means that in expensive areas, the cheap mortgages are simply not available.

CRE is tumbling too, as we can see from the fact that Manhattan office vacancies hit a two-year high.

In currency, the dollar was down again today, and the Russian central bank devalued the Ruble...again.

I still think that a run on the dollar is a possibility when traders start to realize that the Treasury and Fed are printing money and dropping it from the proverbial helicopter.

In energy, increases in inventory, drove oil to $35.35/bbl.


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