Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jobless Claims Fall to 42-Week Low

The short view:

The long view:

WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans than anticipated filed claims for jobless benefits last week, signaling the worst employment slump in the post-World War II era is easing as the economy expands.

Initial unemployment claims fell by 12,000 to 502,000 in the week ended Nov. 7, the lowest level since January,
Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people receiving jobless benefits dropped, as did those getting extended payments. The four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile measure, decreased to 519,750, the lowest level in almost a year, from 524,250 (see top chart above).


At 11/12/2009 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Claims for Unemployment Benefits are not a factor in calculating the official Unemployment number. The conclusion that the "employment slump is easing" is not supported by changes (one way or the other) in claims for Unemployment Benefits. Claims for Unemployment Benefits and the official Unemployment number have no relationship whatsoever.

At 11/12/2009 9:59 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Well the fact that Congress extended unemployment benefits and continuing claims are still falling is very encouraging and basically signifies that not only is the recession over, it's probably been over for a few months now.

At 11/12/2009 10:48 AM, Anonymous Kristoffer said...

The uneployment number is the important issue here. Hopfully the unemployment number will decline and the economy will take off...

At 11/12/2009 10:49 AM, Anonymous Fatilla the Hungry said...

A half million more people just lost their jobs and you're celebrating because fewer people than before are filing? This is cumulative!

Both the number of initial claims and existing claims is shrinking only because the pool of eligible people is drying up. With the unemployment rate rising and nonfarm employment falling, there is no reason at all to believe that a decrease in both the rate of filling this pool and the number of people in it is good news. This has to do with eligibility, not economic factors.

Try coming off the Ivory Tower and learn how things work in the real world.

At 11/12/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Benny "Tell It LIke It Is Man" Cole said...

Die, recession, die, die die!
Let us hope another boom is in front of the USA.
I am confident that Asia will enjoy another 20-year boom, even if the USA wallows around. The American century lasted until 2008 or so, and now China will take over.
China is going through an industrial and technical mobilization the likes of which the world has never seen.
We are stuck in industrial decline and military mobilization. We also support a huge rural subsidy state, costing perhaps $200 billion a year. Farmers in Montana make more from the feds than they do farming.
China will blow right past us.
Read this closely: More than one-half of income taxes (not payroll taxes) go to the military, the VA and the Department of Agriculture.
If you want to cut income taxes, and you want to cut spending, get a clue......................

At 11/12/2009 2:33 PM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Fatilla the Hungry,

Man you must really, really need this recession to keep on going. So, here are some facts for you. Even in good times, nay GREAT times, initial claims are something like 250k. There is nothing wrong with people losing their jobs. As, I just wrote even in good times a million people every month lose their jobs. Our flexible labor pool is one of the many advantages this country has.

And the number of eligeble people is not drying up. As I said in my previous post, Congress just extended benefits so if anything the Continuous Claims numbers should have risen if no new jobs were being created.

Also, the large increase in unemployment rate as reported in U3 was actually kind of encouraging. Why? Well, because what happened was a lot of people who had previously given up on looking for jobs and were not being counted in U3 are starting to look for work again and are being counted as unemployed. This is actually a good sign.

In addition, another sign of hope, temp jobs, which are one of the few leading indicators in the labor report, increased.

The recession is over and you are clinging to the most lagging of lagging indicators to make your case.

At 11/12/2009 3:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The markets sure are interesting from one day to the next. But I think that until the policymakers in Washington wake up (or are woken up by enough voters) and learns to understand that the basic foundation of our financial system and economy need to be rebuilt so that we aren't attempting to solve a debt crisis by creating more debt (just like giving a drug addict more drugs to cure the problem), we cannot not have a sustainable recovery. As such, for most people I think they should remain mostly in cash, as well as some exposure to the gold sector, through the gold price and gold mining companies. The government's efforts to fight deflation are supporting the gold price because of the easy monetary policies and money printing, and I don't see this trend ending in the near future. I also just saw some interesting articles at on a gold miner that I especially like, Aura Minerals. The company released earnings and gold production figures from a gold mine that it acquired from Yamana Gold when the gold price was significantly lower. I think that going forward Aura will continue to offer leverage to the gold price for investors. Lastly, getting back to the government's misguided programs, there are so many unintended consequences that I believe have yet to come to the forefront. I would strongly prefer to have a more positive view on the future, but unfortunately this is the way I view things when I look at our current situation.

At 11/12/2009 9:10 PM, Anonymous サクラ Shill said...

Yes, I saw this at
And you know something -- before labor shortage becomes the real problem we need to fill up our empty slots within Armed Forces. Same thing with petroleum. We are up to 24 days excess inventory, but domestic production is going up and imports down. We need to burn their oil first before another Saddam comes along to torch the wells of Kuwait. Drop oil import duty. Tax domestic production. But I should give credit where credit is due.

Thanks, Pharaoh's Joseph

At 11/13/2009 1:37 AM, Anonymous Fatilla the Hun said...

WRONG Machiavelli, you are clinging to lies, ignorance, and misconceptions.

The unemployment RATE has lagged the end of only the last TWO recessions. The UR turned down IMMEDIATELY at the end of the 70, 75, 80 and 82 recessions.

Nonfarm employment has always been a coincident indicator because it's one of the criteria by which recessions are declared over. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment fell by 190,000 in the month of October.

The NBER doesn't even mention initial unemployment claims as any kind of indicator for the end of a recession so I don't even know why you're talking about it.

If 250,000 jobs lost per week is "normal" to you, then how long will it take at this rate for us to get back to normal?

The four-week moving average peaked at 658,750. After 31 weeks, we've reached 519,750, an average decline of 4483.87 claims per week.

So at that rate of decline, we will reach your "normal" 250,000 claims per week some time in August 2011. Dya think Obama's extended unemployment benefits are going to last that long?

You say that the unemployment rate going up is a GOOD thing because unemployed people are now looking for work again? Did you even BOTHER to look at the labor force data before you spewed forth that nonsense? Don't answer, because I already know the answer - you didn't.

The seasonally adjusted labor force DECLINED from August to September and from September to October.

The number of persons not seeking work because they are discouraged by job prospects INCREASED from 706,000 in September to 808,000 in October. So 102,000 people STOPPED looking for work in October.

This means that U-3 UNDERSTATES the extent of the problem even worse after October than it did before.

Every BLS measure from U-1 to U-6 increased in October. How do you reconcile that with your rosy picture of the economy?

An increase in the number of people working part-time for ECONOMIC reasons is NOT a good thing. There are two categories: those who are part-time because of slack business conditions and those who desired full-time work but failed to find it. Over 100,000 people were added to the rolls of the involuntary, economically part-time in October. Still have your party hat on?

- Nonfarm employment FELL in October.
- Personal income less transfers FELL in September.
- Industrial Production ROSE in September.
- Manufacturing and trade sales FELL in August.
- Real GDP ROSE in August.

So with the coincident indicators MIXED (and the jury still out for October and beyond), and several of these measures lifted up only by massive debt financed government spending, it is way to soon to declare this recession over.

At 11/13/2009 10:27 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Well the fact that Congress extended unemployment benefits..."...

Nothing puts joy into the words of a socialist like the thought of continued government stealing of the wealth of its productive citizens...

So extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks is somehow a good thing?

Yet Mach's fellow travelers have no problem wanting to cut the Bush tax cuts which did produce jobs...


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