August 13, 2009
And all the folks at CNBC buying into the "Green Shoots" jive with even more vigor.
Yeah, good times, those. Good... Times...
The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week and retail sales disappointed in July. The latest government reports reinforced concerns about how quickly consumers will be able to contribute to a broad economic recovery.
Yep, it's really that bad.
"There is really no positive spin to put on these numbers," Jennifer Lee, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. "The U.S. consumer remains very weak. The jobs situation, while slowly improving, is still dismal."
Remember, in Green Shoot-speak "slowly improving" is precisely the same as "getting worse at a slightly slower rate". I find that it's important to have your "Green Shoot to Reality Translator" handy when you read these reports.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month. Economists had expected a gain of 0.7 percent.
While autos, helped by the start of the Cash for Clunkers program, showed a 2.4 percent jump — the biggest in six months — there was widespread weakness elsewhere. Gasoline stations, department stores, electronics outlets and furniture stores all reported declines.
No matter how you slice it, those are u-g-l-y numbers.
As you might expect, Ticker Guy is all over this.
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