Unemployment claims spiked last week
MarketWatch: "The number of people who filed new requests for unemployment benefits surged to 374,000 in the first week of October - the highest level in six months - because of ongoing application-processing snafus in California and layoffs related to the partial federal government shutdown, the Labor Department said today. The 66,000 increase in seasonally adjusted claims for the week ended Oct. 5 marked the biggest spike since last November."

Uncertain fiscal policy feeding low interest rates
Bloomberg: "Three years from now, Federal Reserve forecasters expect the economy will still be struggling to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to growth: U.S. fiscal policy. Most Fed officials last month predicted drag from fiscal restraint, a slow recovery in housing markets and tight credit would cause them to hold the benchmark lending rate at 2 percent or lower until the end of 2016 to support growth and job creation."

We went bargain hunting in September
Reuters: "Shoppers continued to show caution in their spending in September, gravitating toward bargains, as political strife in Washington and slow job growth hurt their confidence with the start of the holiday season just weeks away. Zumiez Inc., The Buckle Inc. and American Apparel Inc. all said same-store sales declined last month, continuing a tough stretch for stores that cater to younger shoppers. A group of nine retailers were expected to report a 3.1 percent rise in September same-store sales, compared with a 5.5 percent gain last year, according to Thomson Reuters."