The Fed “Tapers” on Good Data, So let the Bad Data Continue: Jobless Claims Higher, Existing Home Sales down 4.3 Percent

by on December 19, 2013 4:00 pm GMT

The Federal Reserve got their first taper underway on the positive data that came along in November and December, so now it is time for the bad data to continue.

Applications for unemployment benefits increase to an eight-month high, and holiday boosts employment have not lasted. ‘Tis the season for unemployment. Unemployment claims jumped 10K to 379K in the week ending on December 14. The general estimate for today’s print was 336K. This, also, is coming after the unemployment rate fell to a five-year low.

Ryan Sweet, senior economist for Moody’s Analytics Inc., said “claims at this time of year are very volatile, so we don’t want to put too much stock in each week’s fluctuations.” He also mentioned that “layoffs are low, so that’s encouraging.” Great. It is hard to layoff those without jobs, and there is a lot of them.

Notice how initial jobless claims have spiked above trend, recently:

Initial Jobless Claims, provided by Tradingeconomics.com

Initial Jobless Claims, provided by Tradingeconomics.com

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes fell 4.3 percent in November marking the third consecutive fall as mortgage rates rise and home affordability decline. Existing homes sales were seasonally adjusted to an annual rate of 4.9 million and fell below the 5.04 million home estimate. November’s sales pace declined 1.2 percent from the same month last year, but the medium sales price of used homes reached $196,300 in November, a gain of 9.4 percent year-over-year.