Economic Double-Whammy

There were two really bad reports today on the economic front. Retail sales plunged in February. It was the worst month since November, 1991. And the only reason it wasn’t worse was that gas stations had higher sales because of higher gas prices!

“Consumers were downbeat,” said Richard Yamarone, economist with Argus Research Corp. “There was not much for the consumer to be happy about last month.”

And while new jobless claims were very high, the number of people continuing unemployment was very high.

Continued claims, the number of people out of work for a week or more, rose to 3.5 million in the week ended March 1, the latest data available, from a revised 3.48 million the prior week.

All of this bad news makes it look like we’re heading into a “Dubya-dip” recession. In response, the stock market had its biggest one-day increase of the year.