Making Sense of Mixed Economic Data

What are economic data telling us now? Should we be concerned that the ISM Manufacturing Index fell below the 50 line, which demarcates expansion from contraction? Or should we be encouraged that the much larger services sector, measured by the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, rose and is generally in an expansionary phase? Should we fret that the ADP Employment Report this morning showed only 118,000 new jobs created, below analysts' expectations and hopes?

The data relate to each other, through these and other economic reports. First, Hurricane Sandy was a factor. We do see that the ADP report includes Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com as saying, "Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls. The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm. Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month."...513 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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