"Nothing to see here. Move along, move along! Sign that the economy might have to reset itself? No, no. Not that at all. Quite the reverse. You people see problems, I see opportunity."
In reality, it seems pretty clear that the economy needs to do some major adjusting. Unfortunately, there is simply no quick fix. Equally unfortunately, expectations seem so high (even Bernanke was talking beginnings of a recovery at the end of the year) we wonder if there isn't a rather big disappointment ahead.
New U.S. claims for state unemployment benefits unexpectedly jumped last week to a 26-year high while total claims cracked the five million mark for the first time ever, the latest evidence that the already severe recession is deepening as it extends into its second year.
Separately, durable goods orders plunged in January, a sign of future demand fell, and a barometer of capital spending by businesses dropped, according to data showing how the recession is battering the factory sector.
Initial claims for jobless benefits rose 36,000 to 667,000 after seasonal adjustments in the week ended Feb. 21, the Labor Department said in a weekly report Thursday. That's the highest level since Oct. 2, 1982, although the labor force was much smaller then.
Total Jobless Claims Top 5 Million; Durable-Goods Orders Drop [The Wall Street Journal]