A Mixed Bag of Flat Data

MBA Mortgage Applications (week ended 11/30/2012)

Purchase Index – Week/Week 0.1%. Previous was -0.9%
Refinance Index – Week/Week -2.0%. Previous was -2.0%
Composite Index – Week/Week – 4.5%. Previous was -0.9%.

As it affects the economy, the purchase index is most important.  One can be disappointed that the gain dropped so much or happy that applications increased.

ADP Employment Report (November 2012)

– +118,000.  This is private jobs only. Consensus was +125,000.  Previous was +158,000.  We need about 135,000 more jobs each month to keep pace with population growth.

Worker Productivity and Costs (3rdQ2012)

Nonfarm productivity – Quarter/Quarter – Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate  2.9%
Unit labor costs – Quarter/Quarter – Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate -1.9%.

Productivity is GDP/hours worked. Since I lived in Berkeley in the late 1960’s I will offer that the decrease in labor costs merits a comment such as “capitalist pigs.”

Factory Orders (October 2012)

– Factory Orders Month/Month were +0.8%.  Previous was +4.8%.

Factory Orders would make more sense to look at on a 3-4 month rolling average basis.  There is too much month/month variation to make sense of this number since it consists of orders for very high ticket items which are non purchased with any consistency e.g. aircraft.

 
ISM Non-manufacturing Index (November 2012)

Composite Index – Level 54.7 up from previous 54.2.

The non-manufacturing ISM surveys more than 375 firms from numerous sectors across the United States, including agriculture, mining, construction, transportation, communications, wholesale trade and retail trade.