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Today's Political Interruption

The Real Side of the Economy Is Not Doing So Well

Worst Day's News in Quite a While:

Initial jobless claims soar: David Goldman, staff writer: Initial filings for state jobless benefits increased by a seasonally adjusted 32,000 to 493,000 in the third week of September... the highest number of weekly claims since Sept. 29, 2001, when unemployment soared in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The consensus estimate of economists surveyed by [had been] 450,000.

"The labor market is very weak," said Mark Vitner, an economist for Wachovia. "Layoffs have ticked up for the last two months, and there has been a slowdown in hiring, so we haven't been able to absorb new entrants into the workforce." The Labor Department said about 50,000 of the new claims were due to the effects of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike...


Orders for durable goods fell 4.5 percent, to $208.5 billion, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, a $9.9 billion decline... orders for civilian capital goods outside of aircraft, fell 2 percent.... The biggest declines came among factory goods like metals and heavy machinery. Equipment used for transportation, down two of the last three months, declined 8.9 percent, and motor vehicle orders dipped 8.1 percent. Civilian aircraft orders lost 38.1 percent....

Sales of newly built homes fell 11.5 percent in August, far more than economists had expected, to an annual pace of 460,000. That marked the lowest level since the middle of the last housing recession, in January 1991.