Thursday, September 13, 2012

Great News For the Administration: Latest Bad News Can Be Blamed On .... a Tropical Storm; Even More Surprising (Not): Last Week's Unemployment Numbers Revised Upwards!

Remember: the magic number is 400,000 (and we're edging ever closer)

There are few things I look forward to more than the weekly spin on the reason why first-time claims for jobless benefits increase.

This week, no exception. The stunningly high increase was blamed on a tropical storm. Not a hurricane, but a tropical storm. I don't recall a tropical storm being blamed in the past but then I've only followed the weekly unemployment claims for a couple of years now. Memo to self; google jobless claims Hurricane Katrina

Anyway, I digress.
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, with several states reporting an increase related to Tropical Storm Isaac.  
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 15,000 [insert "wow" here"] to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the highest in two months, the Labor Department said on Thursday. [You mean it was higher only three months ago, when there was no storm?]
The prior week's figure was revised up to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 370,000 last week.
The only word missing in the first sentence was "much" as in "rose much more than expected last week."

And, again, the previous week's numbers were revised upwards. I don't recall ever seeing the previous week's numbers revised downwards.

I guess even the analysts didn't think a tropical storm would cause such an increase. By the way, does anyone even remember Isaac? I had forgotten all about it.

Let's see. I haven't even gotten to the part where "they" talk about the more meaningful four-week trend. Let's see how they handle that one:
But even accounting for the storm, the report suggested little improvement in the labor market after job growth slowed sharply in August. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, climbed 3,250 to 375,000, the highest since the middle of July.
"Suggested" little improvement. First of all, we've been reading the same stories for four years, so we are way past "suggested." Perhaps, "confirmed."

Second, "little improvement." How about "no" improvement. In fact, it's another setback.

Yes, I look forward to the weekly jobs report for its creative writing. And, of course, a comment from Chester which won't get posted.


July 18, 2012: Obama's job council has not met in 6 months. They've either given up, or they are working on their own resumes pending the November election. Regardless, they have a fairly easy job to do and could solve the major "job problem" with one simple "recommendation": require all EPA regulations to be reviewed by the jobs council before posting the new regulations. And only if the Jobs Council concurs.


  1. The number of Americans filing first- time claims for jobless benefits rose by 71,000 last week, the biggest increase in more than nine years, as people thrown out of work by Hurricane Katrina filed for benefits in nearby states and at government relief shelters