More unsurprising bad news (from the Washington Post):
The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time jumped to a 26-year high last week, while demand for U.S. goods and services tumbled in October, providing more evidence that the recession is accelerating.
Initial unemployment claims for the week ending Dec. 6 increased 58,000 to 573,000, a level not seen since Nov. 1982, the Labor Department reported today. A four-week average of jobless claims — which is considered a more reliable measure of the labor market — also hit a 26-year high, rising to 540,500 from 526,250
The article goes on to note that US exports fell 2 percent in October, with declines coming from both the manufacturing and service sectors. World oil consumption also fell in 2008 for the first time in 25 years.