Make us your home page
Instagram

It's rough all around

A pair of shoppers pass by an empty retail storefront on once-thriving Madison Avenue in New York on Monday.

Associated Press

A pair of shoppers pass by an empty retail storefront on once-thriving Madison Avenue in New York on Monday.

Associated Press

A trio of economic reports released Thursday — January retail sales, weekly first-time unemployment benefits claims and December factory orders — added up to more bad news for the U.S. economy. Today's national jobless report is certain to reinforce the hard reality that the recession is tightening its grip.

Retail

Shoppers passed by the jewelry counter in January, delayed buying their favorite perfume and even skimped on buying clothes for their growing kids.

January retail sales fell 1.6 percent, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs tally — not as bad as expected but still the fourth consecutive monthly decline. The index was helped by the better-than-expected results from Wal-Mart, which accounts for just over half the index. Excluding Wal-Mart, sales fell 4.8 percent. The tally is based on same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year.

Unemployment

New jobless claims jumped far more than expected last week, and there's no relief in sight for workers as mass layoffs persist.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of newly jobless workers seeking benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 626,000, from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 591,000. It's the highest total since October 1982.

Economists expect the government to issue a grim report today that will show the unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in January, up from 7.2 percent in December. That would be the highest rate in 17 years.

The number of total jobless doesn't include an additional 1.7 million people receiving unemployment insurance through a 33-week extension of benefits Congress approved last year, which brings the total to about 6.5 million.

Factory orders

Orders to U.S. factories fell for a record fifth straight month in December, closing out the worst year for American manufacturers since 2002.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders dropped 3.9 percent in December. The weakness was widespread, with a range of industries from autos to heavy machinery and computers all reporting big declines in demand.

For all of 2008, factory orders rose 0.4 percent, the weakest showing since orders actually fell 1.8 percent in 2002.

December declines, by sector:

• Commercial aircraft: -43.8 percent

• Motor vehicles and parts: -5.7 percent

• Primary metals, such as steel: -7.1 percent

• Machinery orders: -5.7 percent

• Computers/electronics: -6.5 percent

StoreSales
Wal-Mart+ 2.1%
Target– 3.3%
J.C. Penney– 16.4%
Macy's– 4.5%
Gap– 23%


It's rough all around 02/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  2. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  3. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  4. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]
  5. Cooking passion spurs owner to pull open AJ's Kitchen Drawer

    Business

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Tampa in May 2016, AJ Albrecht spent four months traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia.

    AJs Kitchen Drawer offers a wide variety of unique kitchenware items, such as handcrafted knives and wooden items, as well as local gourmet products. Photo by Danielle Hauser