Why Conflicting Economic Data All Leads Back To The Unemployment Rate

Category: Economy / May 16, 2013 5:12PM EDT

Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner with brokerage firm Meridian Equity Partners Inc., weighs in on Thursday's conflicting jobless claims, the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index, consumer price index (CPI), as well as housing starts and building permits. 

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that starts at building sites for homes fell 16.5 percent last month to a 853,000-unit annual rate, which was below analysts' expectations of a 945,000-unit rate. However,building permits rose 14.3 percent from a month earlier to an annual rate of 1.017 million, the highest level since June 2008. 

Also on Thursday, the Consumer Price Index slipped 0.4 percent, the biggest decline since December 2008, as analysts had expected a more modest 0.2 percent drop.

The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region fell to minus 5.2 in May from 1.3 the prior month, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said. 

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits jumped by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the Labor Department said, which was the biggest jump since November.