Friday, February 08, 2008

Something Sort of Positive

In my never ending quest to find anything positive about the economy, I found this blog entry by Greg Ip at the WSJ about a service sector index constructed by ISI. Their index did not show the plunge that the ISM survey did:

Not so fast, says ISI Group. The New York brokerage firm has its own service sector index that it puts together from weekly surveys it conducts of auto dealers, homebuilders, shopping guides, credit card companies, airlines, banks, restaurants, wine & spirit wholesalers, temp employment companies, trucking companies, shipping companies and commercial real-estate companies. While it has been trending down, it didn’t show the abrupt plunge in January that the ISM’s index did: the four week average has slipped to 46.5 in early February from 47.1 at the end of January and 48.5 at the end of December.

“We think the risk of recession is high, but the data in aggregate are not consistent with a US recession right now,” says economist Oscar Sloterbeck, who runs the surveys at ISI. Unemployment insurance claims aren’t high enough, the manufacturing ISM index is at 51 instead of recession levels of 41, the firm’s own diffusion index is still above recession territory and “the Company Surveys in aggregate aren’t low enough.” –Greg Ip

Okay I know it's thin gruel but at least it's not as negative as the ISM survey.

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