Here is Reuters on jobless claims:
Jobless claims up, underlying trend still down
New claims for jobless benefits moved higher last week, but a decline in the four-week average to a nearly 2-1/2-year low suggested the labor market continues to improve.
Good grief. This means that November was sufficiently good as to counterbalance December, not that December is somehow good. As Glenn Reynolds notes, they didn’t look this hard to find a silver lining when Bush was president.
Then there’s AP on December sales:
December increase seals strong holiday for retail
Retailers sealed their strongest holiday sales increase since 2006, as a robust November more than offset spending that tapered off in December. The results reported Thursday suggest steadily improving consumer spending. For investors, whose expectations were riding high, the December figures were disappointing.
Once again, the news for December is somehow that November was really good. Interestingly, the original headline for the story, which was linked from Instapundit and Drudge, was more honest: Retailers report surprisingly weak December. You can still see that headline in the permalink.