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Early Reports Support Economic Recovery Hopes

Nov 30, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

With apologies to Meredith Willson:

It’s beginning to look a lot like recovery.

Today’s reports all show.

Take a look at the confidence, it’s rising once again

And Black Friday made the Redbook glow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like recovery.

Is hiring on the rise?

That’s what we will see the economists seem to agree

A happy Friday surprise.

That’s the essence of a variety of economic reports out today, which nearly all point to economic improvement.

The Consumer Confidence Index jumped 4.2 points to 54.1, its highest level in five months. The main driver of the increase was a 6.7-point improvement in consumer expectations for the future. Economists had expected a more modest rise to 53, on average, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Investor confidence, according to one index, also rose during November. The State Street Investor Confidence Index was up 9.3 points in November. It’s still off its 12-month high of 107.4, but well above the low of 88.1.

As a point of interest, Monster’s stock — at 22.47 a share at the moment — has more than doubled over its 52-week low of $10.00. Investors are not only rewarding the company for its product improvements and its revenue growth, but some of it has to be attributed to the expectation that hiring is picking up.

Retailers, anticipating improvement in sales this holiday season, increased their temp hiring. Early predictions by Challenger, Gray & Christmas were for a stronger hiring season.

Now, initial reports are bearing out retailers’ expectations. The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index, which measures same-store retail sales, was up 4.9 percent for the last full week in November. That included both Black Friday and the Saturday after. As a whole, November sales were up 3.2 percent over last year.

The more detailed International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs report supported the Redbook survey, though it said sales rose 3.5 percent over the same period last year.

Yet another report that exceeded economists predictions was this morning’s Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, which came in at 62.5. Economists were expecting a more modest 59.

Housing, however, remained relatively soft. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home values rose .6  percent in September over the year before. It was the smallest gain since January.

Economists are expecting generally positive news from other reports this week, especially the market-moving employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The prediction is that the report due out Friday morning, will show the U.S. added 145,000 jobs in October, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Tomorrow, we’ll get some indication of how strong a month it was for private employer hiring when ADP’s National Employment Report is released.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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