ISM Employment Indexes Above Fall 2007 Levels
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
1. The Apple iPad is a Kindle Killer - Amazon Kindle's market share fell 15 points in November to less than half of the e-reader market (47%), due to competition from the Apple iPad (32% market share).
The Department of Labor reported today that the four-week average of initial unemployment claims fell to 431,000 for the week ending November 27, which is the lowest level since the first week of August 2008, more than two years ago (see chart above). The number of workers continuing to receive jobless benefits fell to 4,288,500 last week on a four-week average basis, the lowest level since early December 2008.
Thanks to Daniel Gross for that great headline.
I'm reporting this index for the first time - the monthly Rasmussen Employment Index of worker confidence, which was released today and is based on a survey of 8,730 working Americans in November. Here's what Rasmussen is reporting:
From the New York Times last week, an article about harvesting the best hair in the world: naturally blond hair in Russia, which is a "golden treasure" for the global beauty industry. The going rate for "a 16-inch braid, the shortest length a buyer will consider, fetches about $50."
"Online advertised vacancies rose a modest 47,400 in November to 4,457,200 following an increase of 113,700 in October, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series released today (see chart above). The nation’s Supply/Demand rate stood at 3.37 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in October (the last available unemployment data)—a figure that is down from a peak of 4.73 in October 2009."
1. U.S. consumer confidence in November reached its highest level since May, five months ago.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) reported today that its Restaurant Performance Index reached a three-year high of 100.7 in October, the highest level since September 2007 (see chart above). Restaurant sales set a new monthly industry record in October, with sales above last October by more than 4%, and year-to-date restaurant sales above last year by 2.6%. There were 24,000 new restaurant industry jobs added in October, bringing the total number of new jobs added this year at U.S. restaurants to more than 130,000.
It's well known that Canada's single-payer health care system frequently results in delayed access for health care, since the "free" but still scarce medical resources get inefficiently rationed by non-price methods such as long waiting times. For example, the median wait time in Canada for a "free" MRI in 2009 was 9 weeks, but can be as long as 15.5 weeks in some provinces (source), compared to a wait of generally less than a week in the U.S.
The Federal Highway Administration reported recently that travel on all roads and streets in the U.S. increased by +1.5% in September compared to the same month last year. Total travel for the month of September was estimated at 247.8 billion vehicle miles, the highest travel volume ever for the month of September. The September increase in traffic was the fourth consecutive monthly increase compared to the same month last year, and the sixth increase in the last seven months.
The chart above shows quarterly increases in worker productivity, using output per hour from the BLS for the nonfarm business sector. The shaded areas highlight the one-year periods following the end of the last three recessions (1990-1991, 2001, and 2007-2009), and show the huge surges in productivity in the early stages of the subsequent expansions - as companies learn how to "do more with less." Notice that the productivity surge was greater following the 2001 recession than the 1990-1991 recession, and now the most recent productivity surge characterized by two consecutive quarters of gains above 6% (2009:Q3 and 2010:Q1) is much greater than the 2002 period. It's partly those productivity surges that translate into "jobless recoveries," and this time will be no different, and might actually be longer than the post-recession periods of weak job recovery following the last two recessions.
Price of Weed, state-by-state based on anonymous submissions.