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Weekly unemployment claims show continued improvement

As both these charts show, the trend in weekly unemployment claims remains down, and that reflects positively on the health of the U.S. economy. No sign of a double-dip recession here.

The real question, of course, is whether the U.S. economy's growth path—which is hardly robust—can withstand the deterioration going on in Europe.

As this chart shows, Eurozone stocks have really been clobbered relative to U.S. stocks in the past year (down by about one-third), and the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis is the most likely culprit. The chart also shows that the big trends in Europe and the U.S. have a strong tendency to coincide. (Actually, all major economies tend to move in synch these days.) I'm tempted to think that Europe's problems are fairly unique, and that a sovereign debt default or two will not result in a serious deterioration in the Eurozone economies. Thus, it shouldn't derail the U.S. recovery. What we have seen so far is a lot of anguish over this question that has not yet translated into any hard evidence of U.S. economic deterioration.

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