business news in context, analysis with attitude

Two stories this morning that suggest that the US economy continues to be doing much better than some folks would like it to:

From the Wall Street Journal:

"The U.S. economy appears to be exhibiting strength early this year, after posting solid, but slightly weaker, growth at the end of 2022.

"Gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced across the U.S., rose at a 2.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter, adjusted for seasonality and inflation, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was down from a previous estimate of 2.9% growth, and slower than the third quarter’s 3.2% growth.

"The downward revision primarily reflected slower consumer spending late last year than previously estimated.

"Entering this year, forecasters had projected the economy to cool, but recent data shows a strong labor market and improved spending."

And, from the Associated Press:

"The number of Americans filing for jobless aid fell last week as the labor market remains resilient in the face of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases meant to cool the economy.

"Applications for unemployment benefits in the United States for the week ending Feb. 18 fell by 3,000 last week to 192,000, from 195,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It’s the sixth straight week claims were under 200,000.

"The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, inched up by 1,500 to 191,250. It’s the fifth straight week that figure has been below 200,000.

"Applications for unemployment benefits are considered a proxy for the number layoffs in the United States."

KC's View:

I was watching Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC the other day, and he made an observation that resonated…

Sometimes good news ends up being bad news.  Sometimes bad news is good news.  Sometimes bad news is bad news.  And sometimes, rarely, good news actually is good news.

That seemed like a pretty accurate assessment of where we are at the moment, and he added that rather than any sort of deep recession, experts tell him that we're in for a period of extended malaise.

This won't be reassuring to folks who are struggling to pay their bills because of inflation.  But it is what it is.