Orders, claims figures show "real" economy slumping
Durable goods orders plunged 4.5% in August – more than double the 1.9% decline that economists were expecting. A key measure of business spending, non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, tanked 2%. That was the largest decline since January 2007.
Meanwhile, initial jobless claims soared to 493,000, the highest since the period right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some of that gain stemmed from Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. But the trend higher is clear, and a sign of real economic weakness. Continuing claims ramped up to 3.542 million, the highest level in five years.