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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy is slowing down. But no one is entirely sure by how much.

The big picture: It's been harder than usual to determine for the U.S. because the 35-day government shutdown pushed back or halted important economic releases that inform policymakers and market participants.

Driving the news: This short week has already produced some less-than-stellar shutdown-delayed data points.

  • The November reading of U.S. factory orders was -0.6%, missing expectations by almost a full percentage point.
  • November's durable goods orders also missed economists' expectations by nearly a percentage point.
  • Both surveys were released on Monday, 2 months behind schedule.

Tuesday's reading on the health of the consumer sector, the ISM non-manufacturing index, was the lowest since July.

  • Employment rose but business activity was one-and-a-half points lower, new orders fell to the lowest in 13 months and new export orders fell 9 points to the lowest in 2 years.

What they're saying: "It's possible, if not likely, that the economy weakened during the shutdown and the data that would have given us a heads up on the turn in the economy was unreported because of the shutdown," Lou Brien, market strategist at DRW Trading tells Axios.

Remember: Consumer sentiment data has been substantially weaker of late, and as Charles Schwab fixed income analyst Kathy Jones noted yesterday, it can take 3–6 months for economic data to catch up to sentiment.

  • "The more the hard data softens or gets weaker the more concerned we get," Jones says.

For now, anxious investors are left waiting for data like factory orders, home sales, business inventories and international trade figures from November and December.

  • The December retail sales report, tracking the health of the American consumer during the crucial Christmas holiday shopping season won't be released at all because of the shutdown.
  • The advance economic indicators report for November also has been canceled,

Be smart: New dates have yet to be announced for the advance fourth quarter GDP report, December personal income and spending data and the December international trade report.

  • "Some of the recent private sector data was notably weak and now we wait for the government statistics to catch up and reveal a fuller description of the economy," Brien said.
  • "We need more data and time to see if this is a wiggle or a new trend."

Go deeper: The shutdown's effect on economic data

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”