Thursday, December 2, 2010

Signs of Life

More positive signs for the economic recovery emerged this week, beginning with the Fed's Beige Book report, released yesterday, which said that economic conditions had improved in 10 of the Fed's 12 regional offices. The previous report, in October, had reported growth in only eight of the offices, so this is a step up. As usual, the state of New Jersey is divided down the middle, with the northern half covered by the New York City office and the southern half by Philadelphia. The New York office reported a stronger pace of economic activity, while Philadelphia reported "mixed" conditions.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence was up in November to its highest level in five months, and exceeded the economists' consensus expectations. That's a very positive sign as we move into the holiday shopping season, which can be make-or-break for many retailers' annual profits.

Finally, the ADP private payroll report indicates that 93,000 new private-sector jobs were created in November, which would be the highest number in three years. As we've said in the past, the ADP report is unofficial and sometimes inaccurate, but we'll hope this portends a positive official figure, which will be released on Friday.

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