Saturday, June 18, 2011

Statistical Notes Saturday June 18

-Economic news from the U.K. was mostly weak, with real retail sales in May dropping 1.4% from the previous month and rising only 0.2% from May 2010.

Employment in the quarter of February to April 2011 rose on the other hand slightly, but with nominal average weekly earnings increasing only 1.8% and inflation being 4.5%, real earnings for people with jobs dropped significantly. Moreover, jobless benefit claims rose in May compared to the previous month.

-U.S. economic news was also mixed, but mostly negative. Jobless claims fell
but the manufacturing surveys in both New York and Philadelphia weakened into negative territory.

-Both high unemployment Nevada and low unemployment North Dakota saw official unemployment drop despite an increase in the national rate. The difference is that the drop in Nevada seems to be driven by an increase in hidden unemployment and perhaps to some extent emigration (Because population figures aren't included, the relative importance of hidden unemployment and emigration is unclear) while North Dakota's drop reflects rising employment.

Employment in fact fell in Nevada by 0.6% while it rose by 1.5% in North Dakota. By comparison, employment was up 0.3% in the United States as a whole.

-Euro area inflation fell slightly, but there were big differences, with inflation falling the most in Greece, followed by Germany, Portugal and Ireland.  Greece and Portugal still have inflation above average due to past consumption tax increases, but the weak economies in those countries are putting downward pressure on inflation there. By contrast, inflation rose in Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia and Slovakia

Outside the euro area, inflation rose in most countries except for the U.K. where it was unchanged and Sweden and Hungary where it dropped.

-Hong Kong's unemployment rate was unchanged, but with labor force growth increasing half a percentage point, this means that its labor market strenghtened further.

-Israel's first quarter GDP growth was upwardly revised, particularly in terms of trade adjusted terms, from 3.8% to 5.15%  (my calculation)-


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