Retail Sales Collapse At End Of Holiday, Unemployment Claims Spike

New data shows that retail sales collapsed at the end of the Christmas buying season, and that new claims for bottomless unemployment benefits skyrocketed last week.

November showed a retail sales increase of 0.4% year-over-year (that’s .004 if you’re keeping track, like if there were a hundred sales in November 2010 there were 100.4 sales in November 2011.  Wow.).  December retail sales showed only a 0.1% gain.  Let’s see if that .001 gain is quietly revised down to zero or a loss when next month’s figures are released.

Moving in the right direction like a crippled snail.  Thanks, Obama.

Surprising only the media, new claims for unemployment benefits spiked to 399,000 last week.  They were loudly celebrating Obama’s massive recovery when the number came down slightly (now revised back up, by the way) in November and December due to unsurprising temporary holiday hiring.  Let’s see if we get the same decibel level now that the unsurprising post-holiday layoffs have begun.

Also, more people stayed on their permanent unemployment benefits, but Obama’s plan to fix the economy by making virulent speeches at high schools is totally working, or something.

Unemployment claims jumped to 399,000 in the first week of 2012, the highest in six weeks, from an upwardly revised 375,000 in the prior week. The four-week average of claims also marched higher to 381,750 from 374,000.

The Labor Department report also showed 3.63 million continuing claims, up from 3.61 million.