Thursday, March 28, 2013

They Have Got To Be Kidding: Here It Comes Again: Initial Claims Increase and More Spin; Last Week's Figures Revised Upward An Astonishing 5,000. Economy Not Taking a Step Backward -- Reuters

This is the headline: jobless claims rise; economy continues to heal. Oh, really? GDP growth at 0.4% and ObamaCare, which will knock off at least half a percent of GDP growth if not more, has not even kicked in yet.

Let's see how they spin this story this time:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but probably not enough to suggest the labor market recovery was taking a step back.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Still, they remained in the middle of their range for this year.
The prior week's claims figure was revised to show 5,000 more applications than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications last week to rise to 340,000.
 Okay, the data points without the spin:
  • Reuters expected the number to rise to 340,000.
  • The number actually rose to 357,000.
  • Initial claims rose 16,000.
  • Prior week's claims revised upward by 5,000. 
And just last week I got a nice note from a reader who loved the blog, but disliked my politics. I'm waiting for him/her to say that the job numbers "could be worse." Yes, they could. My least favorite politician, Colin Powell wears a button that says "it could be worse." In a cartoon.

For those who have not seen it, this is a must read: Mortimer Zuckerman: Those Jobless Numbers Are Even Worse Than They Look. Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.
The alarming numbers proliferate the deeper you look: 40.7% of the people counted as unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—that's 5.2 million "long-term" unemployed. Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million.
We are still almost five million payrolls shy of where we were at the end of 2007, when the recession began. Think about that when you hear the Obama administration's talk of an economic recovery.
I think the Obama presidency will go down in history as the worse presidency since 1951 with regard to the economy. Not so much due to the fact how bad it's been, but due more to the fact that the president is unable to acknowledge it, and take steps to correct it.

Even Germany's unemployment rate, at 7.3%, is now better than that of the US; and Europe is in a recession, or at least that's what I've been told.

But this is great news for investors: there is no way the Fed will ease. Ben knew that when he testified last week or whenever it was. The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" will keep increasing. Something from which Ms Pelosi and Mr Reid benefit on many, many levels.

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