Weekly jobless claims fall slightly to 409K

posted at 9:57 am on May 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The Department of Labor released its latest count of initial jobless claims, and the news is good — but only incrementally.  The big spike in weekly jobless claims has reduced itself down from a peak of 474,000 three weeks ago to 409,000 last week.  We are still significantly above the trend from earlier in the year that had initial jobless claims in the 380K range, however:

In the week ending May 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 409,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 438,000. The 4-week moving average was 439,000, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 437,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending May 7, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 7 was 3,711,000, a decrease of 81,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,792,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,728,250, an increase of 750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,727,500.

Weekly jobless claims began spiking upward five weeks ago, with a relatively mild increase of 27,000 to move back across the 400K line.  At the time, I warned not to take one week’s data as a trend, but the next four reports showed claims staying above the 400K mark, including this one.  Clearly something happened to create more volatility in the job market and send people back to unemployment lines on a weekly basis, but it’s not as clear what happened.

Today’s level is nearly identical to that report from mid-April, but Reuters considers it unexpected good news:

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, offering hope the labor market recovery remains on track.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 409,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, continuing to unwind the prior weeks’ spike.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 420,000. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 438,000 from the previously reported 434,000.

Still, Reuters notes that the level remains high, although they fudge a little on what it means:

Despite the fall, claims held above the 400,000 mark for a sixth straight week, indicating payroll growth will only be gradual. The four-week average has now been above that level, which is normally associated with stable job growth, for four weeks in a row.

Stable jobs growth or stale jobs growth?  Normally, economists need a reduction into the 300K-325K range to consider the economy in a stable job growth pattern of any kind.  The 400K level usually means a growth rate barely able to keep up with population growth, which requires an average of 100K new jobs a month.  Getting below a 400K level is progress, but not a goal.  And thus far, the economic growth in Obama’s third year isn’t able to consistently keep that progress in place.


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Tyranny at the Treasury Department or How I learned to Love the Debt Bomb.

It would be my guess that both the two headed beast of Repulicrats in Congress and Tiny Tim the tax cheat at Treasury are breathing a collective sigh of relief at the moment. They just rolled out the opening precedent for the largest theft in history and the public’s response so far has been; “the Govonator did what?” Between Arnold’s peccadilloes and those of IMF chief Strauss-Kahn they could have not asked for a better cover for or distraction from this grand little scheme.

Maybe someone should check Geithner’s phone and email logs to see how long it took Helicopter Ben at the FED and his good buddy Blankfein at Goldman Sachs to call in their congratulations. I’d bet the first line was something like: “Debt ceiling? We don’t need no stinking debt ceiling!”

The rest at
http://theeveningchronicle.blogspot.com/2011/05/tyranny-at-treasury-department-or-how-i.html

LCT688 on May 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The audacity of a dope.

Good Lt on May 19, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Stable jobs growth or stale jobs growth?

Good statement.

Is there a chart showing all this?

Everything seems like a more or less flat line.

catmman on May 19, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Not a chart but bar graph is what I meant…

drrrrr

catmman on May 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Solid B+. Do you guys got another prize for me?

Alden Pyle on May 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Are we back to jobs saved or created again?

search4truth on May 19, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Spin miesters hard at work

cmsinaz on May 19, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Getting below a 400K level is progress, but not a goal. And thus far, the economic growth in Obama’s third year isn’t able to consistently keep that progress in place.

Give him time, Ed. He’s gonna need all 8 years to clean up the mess Bush left him. And if that’s not enough, well then the Democrat who succeeds him in office will get it done in the next 8 years.

BTW, even thought I’m joking, this probably will be one of the themes of the 2012 campaign.

Doughboy on May 19, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Obama cooking the books, the Chicago way…

Roy Rogers on May 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM

LCT688 on May 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Step 1 complete.

chemman on May 19, 2011 at 10:10 AM

They aren’t mentioning the 5.5 MILLION people who lost unemployment benefits this week huh? Officially I am no longer counted as unemployed even though I sent out 3 or 5 resumes this week alone. I thought things had been tight the past year, I haven’t seen anything yet it appears, if I had a job offer right now, I wouldn’t have the gas to go to the interview.

:(

Mini-14 on May 19, 2011 at 10:10 AM

After hearing about the Mi. man winning 2 million dollars and remaining eligible for food stamps, who needs a job? The big baby building his monster high chair while recieving social security multiplied throughout the entitlement mentality, it is a wonder anyone would appreciate the benefits of working.

fourdeucer on May 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, offering hope the labor market recovery remains on track.
…And in other news, the Sharks lost to the Canucks last night 7-3, offering hope that their Stanley Cup quest remains on track.

kevinkristy on May 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I think you are onto something Doughboy

cmsinaz on May 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM

On the brighter side

profitsbeard on May 19, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Happy days are here again!

Green shoots, green jobs, green vomit bags.

Dhuka on May 19, 2011 at 10:21 AM

The prior week’s number was revised upward, as usual. Why are the revisions always in the same direction?

flyfisher on May 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM

flyfisher on May 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I seen a Tweet last week that said it was 9 straight weeks it was revised up, so make it now 10 straight weeks.

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I think this chart shows the adjustments.

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Ponder what the headlines would say if Bush was still President and this anemic economy “chugged” along like it has under Obama. Must be nice having the press in your back pocket.

SPGuy on May 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Get rid of a persons ability to sit on his @ss and get paid for not working for 99 weeks and you”ll see the economy start to grow. Unemployment benefits for 1 to 2 months is more than fair.

csdeven on May 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM

And that chart from above, just ignore the moving 4 week average, things we are going though a Unemployment Spring, sort of like the Arab Spring where there was a rise in protests, we have a rise in Unemployed.

Be PROUD of our Unemployment Spring, or is it Funemployment Spring?

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM

With an unemployment check at least they will be able to buy a light bulb or two.

docflash on May 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Mini-14 on May 19, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Been there Mini….

Hang on and do underground economy stuff is all we got now…

Prayers for you and the other 5,449,999…

golfmann on May 19, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The Department of Labor released its latest count of initial jobless claims, and the news is good — but only incrementally. The big spike in weekly jobless claims has reduced itself down from a peak of 474,000 three weeks ago to 409,000 last week.

Wow, Ed, even you are promoting the spin.

Correct headline: Another 409,000 Out of work. Subhead: 28 weeks of the worst unemployment since first depression.

The news isn’t good at all. The number didn’t reduce itself, for crying out loud! Its based on A SURVEY CONDUCTED BY Failbama’s DoL/BLS/Ministry of Truth.

dogsoldier on May 19, 2011 at 10:52 AM

BTW Stable employment is defined as adding jobs every month to keep up with population plus a few more.

What we have had is not even close to stale or stable. What we have boys and girls is a freaking disaster that gets worse with each passing day.

dogsoldier on May 19, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Recovery Summer indeed

faraway on May 19, 2011 at 10:56 AM

faraway on May 19, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Funemployment Spring comes before Wreckovery Summer

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Clearly something happened to create more volatility in the job market and send people back to unemployment lines on a weekly basis, but it’s not as clear what happened.

Some of those folks being hired back are being let go again.

olesparkie on May 19, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Tyranny at the Treasury Department or How I learned to Love the Debt Bomb.
The rest at
http://theeveningchronicle.blogspot.com/2011/05/tyranny-at-treasury-department-or-how-i.html

LCT688 on May 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Will people wake up after all they have is an IOU from the gov’t? Imagine if they took over our 401ks like they’ve talked about. I want to save for the future, but where? Are we seriously back to the place where we have to hide our valuables in boxes buried in the backyard or under the mattress? Or will this blow over once the Ofascist is out of office.

txhsmom on May 19, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Site BLOWS

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 11:22 AM

After hearing about the Mi. man winning 2 million dollars and remaining eligible for food stamps, who needs a job? The big baby building his monster high chair while recieving social security multiplied throughout the entitlement mentality, it is a wonder anyone would appreciate the benefits of working.

fourdeucer on May 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Without working you can get
– free food via food stamps
– free housing via Section 8
– free health care via Medicaid
– free cell phone visa fed programs
– fee land line via fed programs
– free public transportation in many cities

So the question really becomes, why in the hell would anyone want to work? Someone’s lifestyle on welfare is not really any worse than someone’s life who works 40 hours a week.

I heard a radio ad yesterday for a farmer’s market. At the end of the ad it said we proudly accept. Not only are food stamps no longer a stigma, they’re getting to the point where there is pride in using them.

angryed on May 19, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Should have said we proudly accept food stamps.

angryed on May 19, 2011 at 11:34 AM

You’ll note that last weeks number was revised UPWARD. Any bets this weeks number will also go the same way?

GarandFan on May 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Good news! The cancer is only in my pancreas!

Youngs98 on May 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

flyfisher on May 19, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I seen a Tweet last week that said it was 9 straight weeks it was revised up, so make it now 10 straight weeks.

WoosterOh on May 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

You would be correct. The last two weeks had 4K upward revisions according to Tom Blumer.

Steve Eggleston on May 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Correct headline: Another 409,000 Out of work. Subhead: 28 weeks of the worst unemployment since first depression.

Actually this is incorrect. It’s more like 100+ weeks. (give or take a few that provided holidays or other means for the ministry of truth to put out less horrific numbers)

Lets see:

December 2008 5 weeks
2009 55 weeks
2010 55 weeks
2011 19 weeks (as of last week)

Wow, even worse than I thought. Every week with few exceptions between 400,000 and 700,000 people filed for unemployment.

There is nothing good about this. We need to hound the press into doing their jobs or excoriate them for not doing their jobs.

dogsoldier on May 19, 2011 at 12:04 PM

The MISERY INDEX has been in double digits for 18 months. May should make it 19..

originalpechanga on May 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM

The MISERY INDEX has been in double digits for 18 months. May should make it 19..

originalpechanga on May 19, 2011 at 12:07 PM

The liberal media won’t touch the misery index with little Bammie in the White House. I’d like to see Fox News or even HA pick it up and display it prominently, much like the debt clock.

slickwillie2001 on May 19, 2011 at 1:34 PM