Thursday, March 19, 2015

Unemployment Applications RISE -- Sign That Things Are Improving -- StarTribune -- March 19, 2015; Janet Yellen Moves The Goalposts

I have opined for quite some time that The Los Angeles Times is more liberal than The New York Times, implying that The LA Times is the most liberal "big" newspaper in the US. I keep forgetting about Governor Mark Dayton's newspaper, The StarTribune. I was reminded of that when a reader sent me the link with this headline:
US unemployment benefit applications just slightly up last week, a sign of further job gains. 
Apparently The StarTribune doesn't like "capital letters" in its headlines. But I digress.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose slightly by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 291,000.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 2,250 to 304,750. That average has dropped 7.5 percent over the past year.

I have trouble writing the word "liberal." I don't have trouble with "liberalism" per se -- in fact, that's what I think the whole US revolution against the British was about. I have trouble with outright lying. Or putting spin into headlines of news stories.

Anyway, whatever. Jobless applications rose last week, and the four-week is well over 300,000 now. The latter number is the Yellen number -- below that number and she will consider raising rates based on other data; above that number, no rate increase.

Goal Posts Moved

In the meantime, Janet Yellen has moved the goalposts. TheAP/Yahoo!Finance is reporting:
The Federal Reserve was in a tough spot: The February U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is right where the Fed had been saying inflation would likely start to accelerate. Yet inflation remains even lower than the Fed wants it to be.
So on Wednesday, the Fed simply moved the goalposts.
It now says unemployment could fall as low as 5 percent to 5.2 percent before inflation pressures would probably start to build. That's down from its previous range of 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent.
That shift is a big reason many analysts think the Fed has in effect postponed the date when it will start raising the short-term interest rate it controls. Many now expect it to start raising rates in September or even later after having previously predicted June.
The problem is not the 5.5% rate. The problem is that the unemployment rate is bogus to begin with. No one believes this number. 


On another note, Carpe Diem posted:
Based on today’s BLS report on state employment for January, there have been more than six jobs created in what Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm calls “Cowboyistan” (Texas and North Dakota) since December 2007 for every one job created in the other 48 states and the District of Columbia: more than 1.65M jobs in “Cowboyistan” vs. fewer than 272,000 jobs elsewhere in the country.

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