Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - December 3

Initial Jobless Claims Drop 5,000 - The Labor Department reported new claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 5,000 to 457,000. This marks the fifth straight week of declines. This is the fewest initial claims since September 2008. The total number of people claiming benefits rose by 527,000 to 9.61 million, as a new program for extended benefits kicked in.

Productivity Revised Down - Still Best in 6 Years - The Labor Department reported that nonfarm business productivity increased at an 8.1% annual rate in the third quarter which is a revision from last month's 9.5% estimate. Unit labor costs fell 2.5% which is higher than the negative 5.2% decline. In manufacturing, productivity increased at a record 13.4% annual rate and unit labor costs fell 6.1% annualized.

Service Sector Contracts in November - The Institute for Supply Management reported that the service sectors of the economy contracted in November to 48.7% from 50.6% in October. This followed two months of expansion in the service sector. Six of 18 industries were expanding in November, the ISM said. The employment index rose to 41.6% from 41.1%. The new orders index fell to 55.1% from 55.6%.

Natural Gas Inventories Rise - The Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas inventories rose 2 billion cubic feet last week. At the current level, stocks were 470 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 487 billion cubic feet above the five-year average.

NBC deal seen as a step toward more focused GE - By Scott Malone - Reuters - "The long-expected sale of the media business, which accounted for about 10 percent of GE revenue, focuses the world's biggest maker of jet engines and electricity-generating turbines more tightly on its core business of selling heavy equipment and financing the purchase of it."

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