Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jobs Report: First Time Jobless Claims Surge; Labor Market Is Healing -- Reuters

Jobless claims rise more than expected. [Later, after finishing the article -- wow, that's an understatement.]

The jobs story was buried. The story is becoming so common, so repetitive, it is no longer news.

Let's see how bad it is this week and how Reuters, Bloomberg, others spin it.

WOW, LOL, the same opening statement I've seen for the past four years: despite the bad news,
the underlying trend suggested the labor market continued to heal."
LOL. Seriously.

That's as far as I got. What are then numbers?

HOLY MACKERAL. I thought maybe 2,000, or 3,000 or 5,000, but am I reading this correctly? 19,000. Not only that, but the numbers for the previous week were revised upward another 3,000.

This is a BAD, BAD, BAD report.

This is where I track weekly reports. See how many weekly reports report a number as high as 19,000. 

Analysts had expected the number to rise to 330,000. In fact, it rose to 348,000.

Oh, here it is, the spin. Reuters is using a new adverb: ironed-out, as in, "the four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, edged up 750 to 333,000." LOL.

The revised numbers, which will come out next week, will, of course, be worse.
A Labor Department analyst said claims for Louisiana were estimated because of inclement weather, adding there were no special factors affecting the state level data.
Now more spin:
Last week's claims data include the Martin Luther King Jr Day and filings tend to be volatile around federal holidays.
Hmmmm.... there's a federal holiday almost every month. Is this new, Martin Luther King Jr Day?
Job growth slowed sharply in December, but economists shrugged off the surprise meager increase in payrolls, pointing to freezing temperatures that hit sectors such as construction and transportation.
Federal Reserve officials also appeared to dismiss the slowdown in payrolls, saying at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday that the labor market on balance showed further improvement.
The decision by Congress to not extend unemployment benefits out to fifteen years or more is starting to show up in the data:
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 16,000 to 2.99 million in the week ended January 18.
The Sunday comics are being replaced by the weekly jobs reports coming out of the Obama administration.

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