NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims fell sharply last week, while those filing ongoing claims rose to another all-time high, according to government data released Thursday.
There were 565,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended July 4, down 52,000 from a revised 617,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.
It was the lowest number since January and was below the consensus estimate of 603,000 from economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
Analysts said last week’s drop was distorted by a change in the pattern of seasonal layoffs in the automotive industry.
In other words, the “good news” is that plants closed earlier this year than normal, so the job numbers “improved.”
Here’s the actual jobs picture:
Meanwhile, the number of people requesting continued jobless benefits rose to a record high, indicating that the labor market remains weak.
The government said continuing claims rose to 6,883,000 in the week ended June 27, the most recent data available.
That’s an increase of 159,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 6,724,000 and was the highest reading since the Labor Department began keeping records in 1967.
Compare that happy news headline with how CNN headlined a story about potential job losses when a different party controlled the White House.
This isn’t bias. It’s malpractice.
Update (Ed): Via HA reader Geoff A, CNN isn’t the only one spinning this for Obama. The AP’s making some pretty good RPM as well. They headline their article “New jobless claims fall to lowest since January,” even though, as Slublog points out above, the statistic is an artifact of policy:
The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits last week fell to lowest level since early January, largely due to changes in the timing of auto industry layoffs.
Continuing claims, meanwhile, unexpectedly jumped to a record-high. While layoffs are slowing, jobs remain scarce and the unemployment rate is rising, which some economists worry could weaken or delay a recovery. The unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent last month and is expected to top 10 percent by the end of this year.
Shouldn’t the headline be “Unemployment continues to worsen”? It would have been in the Bush or Reagan administrations.
Cross posted at Ace of Spades HQ
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