Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Days Are Here Again -- What ObamaCliff -- First Time Claims Well Below the Magic Number

Later, 3:53 pm: unemployment rate takes huge jump; back to 8.3% (was 7.4% last month). Cue up Connie Francis.

Original Post
Wow, I'm glad I didn't listen to the interview with the Labor Secretary today (I assume CNBC interviewed a Labor spokesman based on this great news).

Remember: the magic number is 400,000

This is why I post the magic number: I have a tendency to forget things.

During the worse part of the unemployment picture, some months ago, the magic number was 400,000 -- the number of first-time applications for unemployment benefits. A number lower than than this was needed to suggest modest job growth.

So, today, happy days are here again:
The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid fell sharply last week as a temporary spike caused by Superstorm Sandy has faded. Weekly applications have fallen back to a level consistent with modest hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications dropped 25,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 370,000. 
Let's see what the less volatile four-week moving average is: 
The early impact of Sandy can still be seen in the four-week average. It rose to 408,000 last week. 
Oh, darn.

And this follows, of course:
Before the storm hit on Oct. 29, applications had fluctuated this year between 360,000 and 390,000. They topped 400,000 for most of last year. That has coincided with only modest declines in the unemployment rate.

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