Shrug. Okay. Durable goods are 5.2%.
Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods soared in December by the largest amount in five months, welcome news for an economy buffeted by talk of recession.
The 5.2 percent increase in orders was a surprise finish for the manufacturing sector at year’s end — a segment of the economy considered to have had a poor year.
The increase in orders, as reported Tuesday by the Commerce Department, was far larger than had been expected. The strength came from a big increase in demand for commercial aircraft, but even excluding the transportation sector, orders posted a solid 2.6 percent gain.
The December orders increase was more than double what had been expected. Analysts were looking for a much weaker performance, given that a key gauge of manufacturing activity had fallen to the weakest reading since April 2003. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index dipped to 47.7 for December. Any reading below 50 is considered recession territory for manufacturing.
“Experts” is there anything they can’t get wrong? Every projection in the last 7 years has been negative, and when the reports come in positive, they say, “well…we’re surprised….BUT.” There is always a “But.”
This is why I hardly ever listen to the economic news, except to see how wrong they get it, and how they seem to want things to go badly. I remember when Clinton was president, every week the news would give you the the economic numbers and the unemployment figures – they were never mentioned under Bush, unless they could insert a “but,” or a grimace.
My husband and I tried to go out to eat this weekend at one of those Applebee/Chili’s type places. Every one of them was packed, with an hour’s wait. We grabbed a few slices of pizza and ate at home. I gauge the economy by the restaurants, because to my way of thinking when things get a little tight, the first thing people do is start eating in. It’s not academic, it’s not a brainy way to gauge things…but minding how busy the restaurants are has always been pretty accurate, for me.
I know there are pockets of trouble with the economy – nothing ever hums along perfectly, and I disagree with the stimulus package the president and Congress rushed to, too quickly – but overall, let us remember, the unemployment figure is 5%. We were told, over and over again, while Bill Clinton was president, that 5.6% was “essentially full employment,” so…hey…we’re okay!