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I don't put a whole lot of faith into the government numbers, since the denominator can control the equation, but I also think that you have to understand that layoffs don't usually happen overnight...and when they do, they won't show up in the numbers until after unemployment claims come in and get processed, so this is a lagging indicator at best.    

At worst, it is completely meaningless, due to workers falling out of the pool of eligible workers (those that have given up) misleading the denominator.  

Better indicators of economic growth/health are port volume/congestion and consumer sentiment.    If consumers are happy, they'll spend, even if they shouldn't.   If the ports are hopping, companies are ramping up or restocking for real sales.

Just my take, and worth what you paid for it.   

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