The data this morning from the Labor Department is not great news, but it is not awful news either. The weekly jobless claims came in 351,000 from a revised figure of 353,000 a week ago. Bloomberg had estimates of 355,000 and the prior week’s unrevised data was 351,000 on a preliminary basis. Continuing jobless claims came in at roughly 3.4 million and that figure is reported with a one-week lag.
The reading for personal income and spending came in a tad light for the month of January. Personal income rose by +0.3 in January against a Bloomberg consensus of +0.5%. Personal spending, the grease of the economy, rose by +0.2% against a Bloomberg consensus target of +0.4%.
Today’s latest news on the jobs and spending front may be a light disappointment to some market observers, but all in all these are probably too indifferent to move the markets much in either direction on their own. The next look will be toward the Bernanke testimony later this morning.
JON C. OGG