Thursday, March 03, 2011

Jobless Claims Fall to 2-1/2 Year Low


CNBC -- "New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to touch their lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, while nonfarm productivity rose as expected in the fourth quarter. The four-week moving average of unemployment claims—a better measure of underlying trends—dropped 12,750 to 388,500 last week, the lowest since July 2008 (see chart above).

Claims have now held below the 400,000 threshold for a second straight week. Claims below that level are widely viewed as signaling strong jobs growth and economists believe it is only a matter of time before this is reflected in the payrolls numbers."

MP: The chart below shows jobless claims over a longer period, back to 2000.  With the four-week average dropping consistently since the end of the recession, and now falling below 400,000 for the first time since mid-2008, jobless claims are now at a level consistent with the economic recovery period of 2002-2004.  The labor market is gradually stabilizing, and we can look for ongoing jobs gains this year and a gradual decrease in the jobless rate.  


9 Comments:

At 3/03/2011 9:45 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Obamanomics hasn't worked well yet, with 15 million unemployed and 125,000 to 150,000 people a month entering the workforce from population growth:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2011
BLS

"Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has increased by an average of 93,000 per month."

Jobs crisis eases, but economy has long way to go
11/05/2010

After the severe 1981-82 recession, the economy generated 287,000 jobs a month in 1983 and 323,000 in 1984.

Some months were especially explosive: in September 1983, the economy created 1.1 million jobs. In February 1984, it was 479,000.

Two severe recessions-peak to trough:

Jul 1981-Nov 1982 (16 months)

Dec 2007-Jun 2009 (18 months)

 
At 3/03/2011 9:49 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Of course, the U.S. population is higher today than in the early '80s.

 
At 3/03/2011 10:57 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

Is it just me or does virtually every one of these reports contain the word, "Unexpectedly"? Inflation, jobless claims, unemployment, personal income... no one ever seems to expect what actually happens.

And then three months later, it's revised anyway.

 
At 3/03/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

U.S. population in 1984 was 235 million. Today, it's 310 million, a 32% increase.

 
At 3/03/2011 1:30 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

gallup seems to be showing the opposite trend with unemployment at 10.3%, a level not seen since last spring.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/146453/Gallup-Finds-Unemployment-Hitting-February.aspx

 
At 3/03/2011 1:38 PM, OpenID 7b78fdf8-45c5-11e0-99eb-000bcdcb5194 said...

Gallups unemployment data is not seasonally adjusted if I recall correctly. They also lack a long record of data for comparison purposes. History says that if initial claims are below 400k and stay below 400k then unemployment does not rise by a sustained or substantial amount.

 
At 3/03/2011 2:05 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Gallups unemployment data is not seasonally adjusted if I recall correctly."

this is probably a good thing right now given how badlt "seasonal adjustment" is skewing the BLS numbers.

the entire drop in u3 has been from a modeled drop in US population and in workforce participation.

take that out and the numbers look a great deal like gallup's.

 
At 3/03/2011 2:40 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Interestingly the Obama apologists at CNBC are in conflict with Gallup and Investors Business Daily...

 
At 3/03/2011 2:44 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Funny over at Bloomberg they're reporting this from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc: Firing announcements rose to 53,579 last month from 48,997 in March 2007, Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said in a statement today.

Companies may announce more workforce reductions and continue to delay hiring in coming months as the economy weakens. Job losses that totaled 85,000 in January and February may hurt consumer spending further and prolong a period of slow or negative U.S. growth.

``We will probably see more months in which payrolls remain relatively static or worsen,'' John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of the placement company, said in a statement.

So far this year, companies have announced 200,656 cuts compared with 195,986 in the first three months of 2007.

 

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