Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level In Almost 5 1/2 Years; The Sequester Appears To Be Working


Later, 10:14 am: I was caught off-guard by the headline, until I read the story. See below. Another great example of how the mainstream media spins bad news. But the market was not taken in by the spin. The headline: jobless claims to lowest level in almost 5 1/2 years. Should be huge news for the market, wouldn't you think? Both the market in general and the price of oil are down today, that's how impressed "they" are with the jobless numbers.

Original Post

[I was excited, also, until I read the entire article. "No change" from last week. However, if there is an improvement it may be due to folks who can no longer tour the White House are actually looking for jobs.]

Reuters is reporting:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level in nearly 5-1/2 years last week, signaling labor market resilience in the face of fiscal austerity.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 335,000 last week.
Actually, when you read the report, it's not quite as good as the headline would suggest.

First, the previous week numbers were revised upward by 3,000.

This week the number dropped 4,000. In the big scheme of things, that's a wash.

Only because of the big drop last week, are things what they are.

Having said that, the only thing that has changed in the past few weeks, coinciding with the better jobs numbers: the sequester.

The four-week moving average for new claims, a better gauge of job market trends, dropped 6,250 to 336,750 - the lowest level since November 2007.

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