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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wells Fargo's Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary- February 10, 2012

- Consumer credit surged by $19.3 billion in December, the second consecutive monthly increase, with the growth in credit reflecting increases in credit cards, student loans, and car loans.

- The labor market is showing strength, as jobless claims fell to 358,000 for the week ending February 4, and the four-week moving average fell by 11,000 jobs to 366,000.

. Jobless claims have been below 400,000 for 12 out of the last 14 months.

- The Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey showed the number of job openings in December rose 2.5 percent, with openings in manufacturing and professional and business services leading the way.

. The ratio of unemployed job seekers to the number of job openings fell to 3.9 in December from 4.3 during the previous month.

- The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.8 points to 93.8 in December, the fourth consecutive monthly gain.

- The nominal U.S. trade deficit widened 3.7 percent to $48.8 billion in December, as exports rose just 0.7 percent while imports grew 1.3 percent.

. Based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ conservative estimate for trade, however, we now expect that trade made a modest contribution to economic growth in the fourth quarter.

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