Thursday, August 2, 2012

Job Losses RISE Less Than Expected -- "The Claims Number is Not That Bad"

Remember: the magic number is 400,000


August 2, 2012: Once you get past the spin and think about it overnight, the $64 million question is why did the Fed not act this week (more stimulus) when the jobs report was another horrendous report, and even the Fed mentioned the recovery (?) was deteriorating. I assume most people feel that the Fed has no more arrows in its quiver. Maybe one more arrow. If so, this is why the Fed is delaying action. They are looking to July when the numbers are expected to get even worse -- and they they will have to act.

Two data points:
  • The unemployment rate is expected to have held steady at 8.2 percent in July. It has been stuck above 8 percent for more than two years, the longest run since the Great Depression.
  • The total number of people employed is 4.9 million lower than before the 2007-09 recession.
Original Post
That's the Yahoo!Finance headline: job losses rise less than expected.

The job story was one of the top five stories earlier this morning, but by 8:28 a.m PDT, it was off the front page. Ho-hum.

From the article:
  • the data continues to be influenced by distortions from seasonal auto shutdowns (it's always something); 
  • initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000;
  • economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 370,000 last week (pretty close)
  • the prior week's figure was revised up to 357,000;
  • "The claims number is not that bad," said Cary Leahey, a senior economist;
  • the four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 2,750 to 365,500, the lowest in four months
The lowest in four months. Happy days are here again.

For the view at the WSJ on the job loss numbers, click here.

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