Report Roundupby Tim Manni
Jobless Claims: Weekly jobless claims for the week ending December 6 exceeded analyst predictions, increasing to 573,000 from 515,000 the week prior. The increase erased hopes that weekly numbers were trending downwards, since claims decreased by 16,000 on November 29 from the week before.
Continuing claims for the week ending November 29 increased dramatically by 338,000 to 4.429 million — the largest increase in over 30 years.
Corporate job cuts, like Bank of America’s announcement this week that they plan to trim 35,000 jobs over the next three years, could keep the unemployment rate in the red for some time.
Retail Sales: U.S. retail sales declined for the fifth straight month in November, falling by 1.8%, according to the Commerce Department. Retail sales are down 7.4% from a year ago, as mounting unemployment and credit restrictions have dampened consumers’ ability to spend. Early reports are not looking good for retailers who are depending on a strong December to save their holiday season.
Consumer Sentiment: Despite remaining at 28-year lows, the University of Michigan’s survey of Consumer Sentiment rose nearly four points to reach its strongest level in three months. The survey recorded an increase of 3.8 points in November to 59.1, as cheap gas prices have allowed consumers to put a few extra bucks back in their wallets at the end of the week.