This morning's advance read on 2nd quarter GDP growth beat meager expectations of 1.2%, clocking in at a slightly less meager 1.5%. It marked the second consecutive quarter of deceleration.
Perhaps more interesting than the headline number is the wave of prior period revisions contained in the data.
It actually makes the story even choppier, but a few things are worth noting:
- The depth of the recession was notably less severe when Obama took office than previously realized (-5.3% annualized growth, vs. -6.7% unrevised).
- "Recovery Summer" (2010) was even worse than we thought.
- We actually flatlined in early 2011.
- The average annualized growth rate throughout the "recovery" has been 2.2% (somewhat more pitiful than the 2.4% indicated before today's revisions and 2nd quarter data).
Pay no attention to that datapoint behind the holiday.
Initial jobless claims grew by 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 in the week ended July 14, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the largest weekly gain since April 2011.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 365,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week.
Applications fell by 24,000 the prior week, according to the latest data. Claims for the July 7 week were revised up to 352,000 from an initially reported 350,000, but the level was still the lowest since April 2008.
Last week's surprising decline seemed unreliable for a number of reasons. Not only because the Labor Department has continued its nearly flawless record of one-way upward revisions each week, nor simply due to complications adjusting for the midweek holiday.
A Labor Department economist said July's numbers have been volatile because of a shift in the timing of automotive layoffs.
Once today's number is revised upward next week, we'll be looking at something closer to 390,000. If the revision is more than 6,000, it'll leave us at the highest level of the year.
What's more, this was the reference week for July's monthly jobs report, so enjoy the 8.2% official unemployment rate while it lasts.
Politician Commits the Ultimate Kinsleyian Gaffe
Not that this is true, but it's an accidentally candid encapsulation of the candidate's core beliefs. Joe the Plumber redux. The collectivist mindset writ large, wholly nullifying - if not demonizing - merit and achievement. And the overarching moral justification for confiscation and redistribution.