Cheerleading noise went off the scale when GDP for the third quarter was announced at 3.5%. There was little fanfare when the revision came in at 2.2%. Now, the Big Picture Blog is having More Fun With (Quietly Revised) Numbers.

It struck me as a bit unusual that the data had been corrected as of January 15 — not coinciding with a scheduled Durable Goods release, which actually comes this Thursday, the 28th. Seemed to be a slip-it-in-there-while-no-one’s-looking type of thing. (And no, I’m really not a conspiracy theorist.)

Before Revision

After Revision

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Goods Producing Jobs

As long as we are discussing goods, let’s take a look at goods producing jobs.

The above chart courtesy of the Business Insider.

We’ve gone from providing jobs in profit-making private industry to providing jobs in profit-eating government work. Toward the end of 2007, the total number of government jobs exceeded the total number of goods producing jobs. Welcome to the government payroll economy.

(Hat tip: Tom Iacono, who produced a version of this chart here. To check it, we collect the BLS data and re-ran the figures.)

As long as we are discussing jobs let’s take a look at the 4 week moving average of Weekly Claims.

In the week ending Jan. 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 482,000, an increase of 36,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 446,000. The 4-week moving average was 448,250, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 441,250.

4-Week Moving Average Initial Claims % Change From Year Ago

Wal-Mart Cuts 10,000 Jobs

While pondering the direction of weekly claims, please consider Wal-Mart cuts more than 10K Sam’s Club jobs.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said today it is cutting more than 10,000 jobs at Sam’s Club, representing about 9% of the warehouse club operator’s staff, as it outsources its product-sampling department to marketing company Shopper Events and eliminates another unit.

In the memo, Cornell said Shopper Events would hire “roughly the same number of people” cut and workers are invited to apply for those positions.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart closed 10 Sam’s Club stores, resulting in about 1,500 jobs being lost.

Anyone care to lay odds that Shopper Events will hire 10,000 workers?

While you are pondering that, ponder leading indicators that had been soaring primarily because the stock market was rising and the yield curve was getting steeper.

Yield Curve

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It seems the stock market is no longer rising and the yield curve is flattening. Leading indicators are likely due for a spill.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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