OK shopping season, but OK seems good enough

Chris Farrell, MPR’s excellent chief economics correspondent, shares his insights on the Minnesota and national economies each Monday on MPR’s Morning Edition show. I’ve been posting links to the interviews on Twitter the past few weeks but, starting today, I’ll also feature them on MinnEcon.

Click on the play button below and listen to his thoughts this morning.

Farrell says the Black Friday start of the holiday shopping season went OK for retailers. Given the economy and unemployment, “maybe OK in this current environment is pretty good,” he said.

“The bottom line is the American consumer went out, they were smart, if there was a real deal they took it. But they didn’t open their wallets and spend a whole lot of money.”

Today’s “Cyber Monday” online shopping push should also help, though consumers are being warned to watch out for scams.

Farrell’s keeping an eye on the November national unemployment rate, which will be released Friday.

In Minnesota, he’s keeping watch on the December 17 release of the state’s November unemployment rate, particularly the demand for temporary labor, which made up a big piece of the October job growth.

Farrell says he keeps expecting manufacturing employment to improve but that hasn’t happened so far. Still, with inventories low, the holiday shopping season could trigger demand for orders, which should help manufacturers ultimately.

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