Friday, January 20, 2012

Statistical Notes Friday January 20

-U.K. December retail sales was a lot stronger than other recent data, rising in real terms by 0.8% compared to November and 2.6% compared to December 2010. It should however be noted that retail sales in December 2010 was severly depressed because of snow storms.

By contrast, labor market statistics was a lot weaker, with the employment rate for 16 to 64-year olds dropping to 70.3%, the unemployment rate rising to 8.4% and average real earnings for those with a job dropping 2.8% compared to a year earlier.

-U.S. initial jobless claims fell to a new low, but December residential construction also fell. Meanwhile consumer prices were unchanged in December, causing the yearly inflation rate to drop to 3%.

-Total employment fell in Australia by 29,300 (0.25%) in December, reducing annual growth to zero. One brightspot though was that it was more than entirely the result of part-time employment, while full time employment actually rose.

-Consumer prices in Canada fell by 0.2% in December compared to November, reducing yearly consumer price inflation to 2.3%.

-Euro area construction spending rose in November by 0.8% compared to October and 0.2% compared to November 2010.

-Italy's monthly current account deficit fell by a third in November compared to a year earlier, from €5.15 billion to €3.45 billion.

-Hong Kong's labor market continues, in contrast to Britain's and Australia's, to be very strong, with total employment increasing 3.4% and full-time employment increasing 3.8% in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier. As a result, full-time unemployment fell from 4% to 3.3% and part-time unemployment (aka underemployment) fell from 1.8% to 1.4% even as the labor force grew by 2.7%. Though some of that increase in the labor force reflected population growth, most of it reflected a rising labor force participation rate.


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