Weekly jobless claims rise 15K to 381K

posted at 10:35 am on December 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

After a few weeks of trending reduction, if not overwhelming momentum toward a net job-creation level, the number of initial jobless claims rose last week by 15,000 to 381,000.  The Department of Labor also reported that they adjusted last week’s figure upward by 2,000 claims, but this report will almost certainly be adjusted by a more significant amount:

In the week ending December 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 381,000, an increase of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 366,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 380,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending December 17, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 17, was 3,601,000, an increase of 34,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,567,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,598,750, a decrease of 39,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,637,750.

The 4-week average is the best it’s been in more than three years, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens to this figure next week.  Due to the holidays, the DoL had to estimate claims figures for seven states in this report, including Virginia and California.  The latter had the highest increase in weekly claims, and a further revision could go either way.  We’ll have to wait for next week to get the adjustment, but next week’s report will have the same problem, so it may be a couple of weeks before this metric gets completely sorted.

Reutersnotes that the number failed the expectations of their economists, but their headline gives a different spin: “Weekly Jobless Claims Drift Higher; Still Below Key Level”.  What “key level”?  The version of the article at CNBC provides no explanation of what the “key level” is or why that level is key, but Hot Air readers will recognize this as a stealth example of the 400K Myth.  Reuters has insisted since at least June of this year that a 400K level in initial jobless claims correlates to net job growth beyond population expansion, and a healthy job market.  As I have pointed out numerous times (originally at the link), the data does not show any correlation between the 400K level and healthy job creation, or even a hint of it — and I have repeatedly challenged Reuters to demonstrate that correlation.  So far, they have ignored reality and continued to push the 400K Myth in most of their reporting on this series.

People often ask whether the opening and conclusion of temporary Christmas-season jobs impacts this metric.  These are seasonally-adjusted figures, so the holiday job activity, primarily in retail, shouldn’t impact these numbers unless job creation or destruction occurs outside of the seasonal paramaters.  That may be coming in the retail business, though, as Sears and K-Mart will close more than a hundred stores nationwide due to poor sales and profitability:

During the all-important holiday shopping season, it appears that Sears struggled to connect with other shoppers as well. The Hoffman Estates-based chain said Tuesday that it planned to close more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores because of soft sales, but it also had a more troubling confession: It admitted that it did a poor job of managing its business during the most important period of the year for merchants.

The Chicago-based firm got lots of support from the Illinois state government in tax breaks this year to keep its headquarters in the Windy City, but that didn’t solve the chain’s “self-inflicted” problems:

In a memo Tuesday to workers, Sears Holdings Chief Executive Lou D’Ambrosio said the retailer, which recently received tax breaks from the state of Illinois to keep its headquarters here, had “not generated the results we were seeking during the holiday.”

In part, Sears blamed the tough economy, even as the National Retail Federation said it expects holiday sales overall to rise 3.8 percent this year, to a record $469.1 billion.

But Sears, which over the years has been losing sales to fast-growing retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, conceded that some of its problems this season were self-inflicted.

In order to save costs, the company will close the stores — and that might include their flagship Chicago location, although Sears didn’t respond to questions about its fate.  Sears and K-Mart stores haven’t kept pace with other big-box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, or Kohl’s for discounted but quality clothing.  Retail is expected to have decent but not spectacular year-on-year growth this holiday season, as the Tribune notes above, but that leaves a lot of space for losers as well as winners.


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Unexpectedly, I’m sure.

msupertas on December 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Where’s whatshername, the redhead?

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Recovery Winter.

whatcat on December 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Bush’s fault…. we are trending right…. if the republicans weren’t trying to make the country fail…. McConnell said his number one priority… his policies saved us from a depression… …Did I miss any?

Bensonofben on December 29, 2011 at 10:39 AM

This is impossible..
This can’t happen..
I have been told all is well…
Ignore the lines…
Ignore the pan handlers…
Recovery!!!!!
Say it loud!!!
/

Electrongod on December 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

In order to save costs, the company will close the stores — and that might include their flagship Chicago location,….

Make them pay their fair share!!!!!!
Say it loud…say it proud!!!!

….Oh Wait…

Electrongod on December 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I’m frankly surprised KMart/Sears haven’t gone belly-up yet with WalMart everywhere…

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

4th best POTUS……EVAH!!!

csdeven on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

But I thought Obama the economy was rebounding.

Lies?!

joekenha on December 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

It’s hard to hide the truth – this is now a tea party country and 2012 is our year.

platypus on December 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

4th best POTUS……EVAH!!!

csdeven on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

On fore-in policy…that is..

Electrongod on December 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

In regards to these inflated numbers- when they say ‘seasonally adjusted’ i think the press is actually referring more to ‘election season’ rather than ‘Christmas Season.’

Bensonofben on December 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

I still want to know how the Obama administration gets away with constantly lowering the nation work force numbers.If we were using the same numbers from the last year of Bush administration. The unemployed number would 11%.It takes about 200,000 new jobs per month just to keep up with the population growth and to keep unemployed number steady.Yet we are adding far less than that and the unemployed number keeps dropping .Me thinks there is a whole lot of cooking the books and sooner or later the piper will have to be paid.

logman1 on December 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Weekly jobless claims at lowest level in over 3 years Associated Press, by Christopher S. Rugabe

Wow, according to AP Happy days are here again!

sandee on December 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM

The 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 380,750.

Thank God we’re not back to those Depression like numbers of the Bush years.

WASHINGTON, June 9,2005 (AP) The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 21,000 last week, the biggest decline in seven weeks, the government reported Thursday. The four-week moving average for claims, which smoothes out weekly volatility, also showed improvement last week, falling to 331,750, from 334,500 the previous week.

angryed on December 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM

In order to apply to Jobless benefits you hvve to list the places you applied at.
Hardly anyone is conduction interviews during the Christmass holiday. Therefore less jobless benefit claims.

LeeSeneca on December 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Employment of golf caddies in Hawaii unexpectedly rise. Expected to fall off after President Dorf returns to White House.

fogw on December 29, 2011 at 11:01 AM

In order to apply to Jobless benefits you hvve to list the places you applied at.

LeeSeneca on December 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Yep..you pretty much nailed it.
Also food stamps can’t be used to buy beer..

Electrongod on December 29, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Wow, according to AP Happy days are here again!

sandee on December 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Tell that to the 9% of unemployed Americans- many of whom have just had their second jobless Christmas.

But let’s not let that interfere with the President jetting off for a three-week vacation which is costing the US taxpayer millions. Let’s not let that bring down holiday spirits- after all Michelle Obama said that the 37 trees in the White House were there so that those who couldn’t afford a tree could live vicariously through them (how the reference to “let them eat cake” didn’t rise in the media is beyond me). Let’s also not let that induce Democrats to take a look at their pathetic leader and demand change from within instead of ignoring the reality and supporting this jug-eared idiot for another run at the Presidency.

Nothing is wrong with Obama’s world so he really doesn’t care about things like how many Americans are unemployed or how much debt is amassed in schemes used to line the pockets of his campaign contributors. It really is that clear a fact but one that propaganda outlets like the AP will never provide fair reports about.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I’m frankly surprised KMart/Sears haven’t gone belly-up yet with WalMart everywhere…

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Sears is no prize and I have to admit I haven’t been in a Kmart in years, but, Walmart sucks. I do not understand why everybody thinks they are the be-all and end-all in retail. The merchandise there is shoddy and the prices aren’t cheap.

trigon on December 29, 2011 at 11:12 AM

This story has me worried. Team Obama wants a game changer to guarantee reelection. This would help. http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2011/12/wee-man-makes-prediction.html

Mr. Joe on December 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Oh, I always turn to Reuters whenever I want statistics on the employment conditions and our economy. Those wire service writers can really offer up some interesting statistics on just what’s what, can’t they?

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Journ-O-Econisters to the rescue!

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Maybe the administration can ask people to send in what they would do with income from a job that Obama has blocked them from getting instead of sending in what they would do with the $40 the latest tax scam.

Bensonofben on December 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM

They are blaming all the job losses in Wi on Walker. They fail to realize there are job losses all over the country, not just in Wi.

wi farmgirl on December 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Happy days are here again

ted c on December 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I’ve owned my own construction co here in WA since Jimmy Carter was Pres and the recession we’re in now is the worst I’ve ever experienced. Male construction worker un-employment in WA is approx 24%; there are just too few jobs for too many workers. Many of the laid-off workers are starting their own construction co in order to find some work but they are finding no more work and by keeping the market full of excess workers un-employment stays high. The youngsters and those without deep pockets, exceptional and unique skills or resilient communities are going to lose most of their wealth just staying off the streets.

State and Fed Govs both underestimated the severity of this recession and with typical short-sightedness they squandered both the available time and money they had to buy votes from their political cronies.

bubba on December 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Sears seems as if it’s a candidate for some creative destruction. Still, Illinois throws it a tax-break lifeline while other Illinois employers are required to pay full freight. Governments picking winners and losers–and subsidizing losers.

BuckeyeSam on December 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Is that the “opportunity line” or the “soup line”?? it’s hard to keep the lines straight in Marxist America….

ted c on December 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM

heh. drudge has a subheadline + picture of obama announcing that he spent 7hrs on the links with “hooker soliciting buddy.”

everybody needs them some love, I guess.

ted c on December 29, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Where’s whatshername, the redhead?

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM

On her Mom’s couch watching Judge Judy. She gave up looking for work so she’s not unemployed anymore.

forest on December 29, 2011 at 11:27 AM

They closed the FORD plant in St. Paul a few weeks ago.

Good luck to all the UAW workers who diligently voted to elect Al Franken and Mark Dayton.

Good bye American Dream.

Bruno Strozek on December 29, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Me thinks there is a whole lot of cooking the books and sooner or later the piper will have to be paid.

logman1 on December 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Perhaps the Department of Labor will enlist the resources of Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia to analyze the data and confirm DOL’s findings. That will settle the matter once and for all.

MessesWithTexas on December 29, 2011 at 11:30 AM

This story has me worried. Team Obama wants a game changer to guarantee reelection. This would help. http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2011/12/wee-man-makes-prediction.html

Mr. Joe on December 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Now all Hillary has to do is get Obama on a AIRPLANE.

“O yeah Ron Brown loved to fly.”
H.Clinton.

Obama is a stupid fool with a deathwish if he hitches up to a Clinton.

orbitalair on December 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

But I thought the MSM had been telling us the economy had recovered and geez, now anyone can get a job because they are *everywhere*. /s

JennM111 on December 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Sears has been disappointing us for years. I guess begging for tax bailouts was more profitable than thinking about customers.

PattyJ on December 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Is that the “opportunity line” or the “soup line”?? it’s hard to keep the lines straight in Marxist America….

ted c on December 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM

But you know, ted, the one line we can ALWAYS count on? The one Barack and Michelle have all to themselves to file into $120 a plate chef’s tasting menu dinners in Hawaii! Good times, good times. For them. It’s aaalll for them.

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Happy days are here again

ted c on December 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM

..good to see you’re here again. Did you have a nice Christmas?

The War Planner on December 29, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Obama is a stupid fool with a deathwish if he hitches up to a Clinton.

orbitalair on December 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

..your keyboard to God’s monitor.

The War Planner on December 29, 2011 at 11:39 AM

The closing of Sears and KMart stores is good news. This will enable each state where the closings are going to take place the opportunity to put a lot more people on unemployment payments, which as we have been told by the administration, will create many more jobs. Win-Win.

Walter L. Newton on December 29, 2011 at 11:41 AM

In regards to these inflated numbers- when they say ‘seasonally adjusted’ i think the press is actually referring more to ‘election season’ rather than ‘Christmas Season.’

Bensonofben on December 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Thread winner right there.

AZfederalist on December 29, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I don’t know about the rest of the country but the two KMarts by us are dirty, the facilities are falling apart and the sales staff don’t know the first thing about customer service. Management isn’t much better. I’m not sure why Sears saddled itself with that albatross.

hopeful on December 29, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I don’t know about the rest of the country but the two KMarts by us are dirty, the facilities are falling apart and the sales staff don’t know the first thing about customer service. Management isn’t much better. I’m not sure why Sears saddled itself with that albatross.

hopeful on December 29, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Yes, my experience, too, last time I tried to shop at a K-Mart (and that was years ago).

UNFORTUNATELY, K-Mart’s gone downhill. They USED to be the better alternative to Target for price and quality of (some) goods, but that changed a long while ago and the personnel problems you mention have always existed in every K-Mart I’ve ever shopped at or tried to (but same can be said about many a Target).

Sears, I’ve never shopped in. But apparently a lot of people have or it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has…

So I think it’s the old “changing demographic” along with scattered if not poor to suffering management. But it’s too bad, really it is.

When you’re in areas outside the larger urban areas, places like K-Mart (and WalMart) really save the day, but when they’re badly managed, they’re very badly managed, I agree.

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 11:49 AM

hopeful on December 29, 2011 at 11:43 AM

ALSO online shopping, especially Amazon and online Target, LL Bean (who doesn’t even charge for shipping any longer in many cases) and others, they’ve really taken a big share of the shopping dollars away from places like K-Mart, WalMart and looks like, also, Sears.

Lourdes on December 29, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Sears has been disappointing us for years. I guess begging for tax bailouts was more profitable than thinking about customers.

PattyJ on December 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

This. Sears has done itself in over the years. It used to be that Sears was the place for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers to buy tools. The Craftsman tool brand was a solid line of tools at reasonable price points. However, the accountants took over and started “value-engineering” the functionality right out of the tools to where serious do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists look with derision at anything with the label “Craftsman” on it except for air compressors and shop vacs; Sears is good at building things that blow and suck. Appliances and clothing seem to have suffered similar fates. I haven’t darkened the doors of a Sears store for years now.

My parents, now in their 80′s still shop there because that is the time-honored tradition with which they have become familiar, starting with mail-order on the farm, progressing to buying from the mall stores. These are the kinds of people that Sears counts on and abuses by dropping the quality of their merchandise. Even so, Dad’s last tool purchases have not been from Sears because their merchandise just doesn’t have that quality feel to it anymore.

AZfederalist on December 29, 2011 at 11:52 AM

We need DWS to explain this to us and that unemployment has gone down under Odumbo.

rjoco1 on December 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Where’s whatshername, the redhead?

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Shacked up with the stromtrooper? Maybe they’re consoling each other.

Oldnuke on December 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

My 17-year-old son has been working at the local Dairy Queen for the past five months. He was hired along with a larger number of new workers than what I thought they needed, but then I figured they were planning on weeding some out. Nope. Now, during the slow season my son works about twelve hours per week. Maybe. And so do all the rest of the workers. My wife figures it this way: Dairy Queen is getting some kind of “incentive” to hire more workers than they really need to boost employment numbers, and if this is happening nationwide it may very well be having a severe impact on the phony job numbers. I hate Chicago politics ever since I spent twelve years living there. We absolutely MUST get rid of this administration!

HiJack on December 29, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Strong sales are only a part of the picture. How much did the retailers have to discount to get those strong sales? What are their margins? Did they make more money that last year?

In January, a few years back, I upped our promotional sale to 60%-70% off, instead of our usual 30%-50% off. I remember getting pretty excited about our sales figures. We sold 400 more items and we had record breaking sales for the month! Then I looked at our bottom line. We made the same money as the year before.

I wonder how many other retailers will not be smiling at their 3.8% increase in record breaking sales.

BruceK on December 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Wow! I didn’t expect this. This is so totally unexpected. How could something we didn’t even expect happen? Who could have been expecting this?

Damn Bush!

Just think about how bad things would be if The One had not saved 345 million jobs and, per Nancy Pelosi, unemployment benefits weren’t creating 46 million jobs a week. I shudder at the thought.

Thank you, President Obama and Soon-to-be-Again, Speaker Pelosi.

How about a round of applause, folks? Stand up, Chuck, so the people can see you!

Horace on December 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I have to to tell you that although I have loved Sears for years, within one week I experienced two very very poor customer service problems that did make me wonder how in the world they are still in business. One screw up (or the continuation of the same screw up) allowed my sister to get an extra 15% off of her purchase and that’s great but if you have a lot of that it can’t help your bottom line.

Cindy Munford on December 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM

A quick check on jobcentral.com for jobs posted in the last 2 weeks within 25 miles of my zip code showed 357 new job listings. Many (but not all) of them are very specialized positions, confirming what I’ve heard before – there are jobs, but companies can’t find people with the right skills – too many OWSer types getting wymyn studies and English Lit degrees. Few people are willing to start at the bootom and stick with it to work their way up. I’m making less than I did 3 years ago thanks to DoD budget cuts – but still working as a DoD engineer. My 19 year old son got a job as a waiter 11 months ago and stuck with it – and is now an assistant manager making over $10/hour. Whenever I hear libs complain about people trying to live on minimum wage, I always wonder what’s wrong with those people that they can’t get above min wage – it’s really not that hard if you do your job well.

dentarthurdent on December 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM

and I have repeatedly challenged Reuters to demonstrate that correlation.

Back up a step here. Why in the Hell does Reuters even HAVE an official position on this, or anything else?

They’re supposed to be a reporting organization. They should have a ready cite for EVERYTHING they ever say; even if it’s just the old standby “anonymous sources.”

Every quarter they come out with a new “our economists predict” estimate for what the GDP growth rate will be — for the quarter that just ended — and every quarter it’s 20-60% higher than what the final numbers eventually turn out to be. But that’s OK, because they know full well that by the time somebody can re-check their figures, they’ll have brand new next quarter estimates, and nobody will care any more.

But now they come up with an entirely new Law Of Economics, that they intend to use repeatedly, so they can’t even claim they have a Mystery Accountant on staff who whispered it in their ear. They know if they repeat it enough times, and it’s mindlessly repeated in other news sources, it’ll just be accepted as true. And not just true, but too obvious to even question.

logis on December 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM

I actually can’t remember the last time I shopped at Sears, late 90′s… To me, Sears has been stuck in the 80s and the hand tools were drifting into “As seen on TV” territory.

I do remember the last time I shopped at Kmart, I thought I had stepped through a portal to another country – a third world country that was recovering from an earthquake.

Then again, the Walmarts around me aren’t much better.

reaganaut on December 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM

On the tangent topic of Sears/KMart – haven’t been to KMart in many years for the reasons others have stated. We get some clothes at Sears, but I’ve been buying my tools at Lowe’s and/or Home Depot for a long time. Sears Craftsman brand is over-priced and not as good as they used to be, and the auto shop at Sears does not come close to Pep Boys and other auto shops for price, selection or quality.

dentarthurdent on December 29, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Sears is laying off. K-Mart is laying off. Wall St is laying off. Yeah, the economy is really beginning to ‘perk up’.

On a happy note, a couple hundred legislative aides in Sacramento just got between 3-5% wage increase.

Priorities.

GarandFan on December 29, 2011 at 12:52 PM

The stock market is up today–so it must be good news. /s

JennM111 on December 29, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Where’s whatshername, the redhead?

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM

I think Fiona may have given up… :(

Fallon on December 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

BRAZIL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS TO 5.2 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER 2011

I’m glad we could help by sending a couple of billion to help finance their offshore oil drilling. Didn’t we send some oil rigs too?

Ditkaca on December 29, 2011 at 1:21 PM

4th best POTUS……EVAH!!!

csdeven on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

On fore-in policy…that is..

Electrongod on December 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Too true…we need a president who doesn’t just putter around with the job…

ProfShadow on December 29, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Where’s whatshername, the redhead?

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM
I think Fiona may have given up… :(

Fallon on December 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

She got a new job over one of Breitbarts sites or at least thats where I saw her last month.

RickB on December 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

The “improvements” in December weekly claims data have been nothing more than statistical noise and maladjusted bullsheet.

Mike Honcho on December 29, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Mike, thank you for this. These links — and the links to BLS/Gov links — are useful resources. They can help us cut through the Bravo Sierra and haze of battle.

Again, like you infer: there’s a bad moon a-rising in January and all of this is juts rearranging deck chairs, etc.

The War Planner on December 29, 2011 at 1:54 PM

I’m frankly surprised KMart/Sears haven’t gone belly-up yet with WalMart everywhere…

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2011 at 10:44 AM

There’s a mall a couple towns away from me that has a Sears store as an anchor. Except for the holiday shopping season, I seldom see many cars in their lot. It’s a nice enough store, clean and bright, merchandise neatly arranged, but I usually can count only two-dozen shoppers there any other time of the year.

The thing about this mall is that it was just built about seven years ago (after about 30 years of on-again, off-again negotiating, financing and speculating when – or if – it would ever be built). The first anchor store to go was Linens N Things about two years after the mall opened. Next went Borders this past fall. If the Sears closes, that will be the third anchor to become a big blank space, which leaves J.C. Penney, Macy’s and a regional sporting goods store as the remaining anchors trying to keep the mall going.

The complex around the mall is lined with bunches of chain restaurants, which are often busier than the mall itself, and on the opposite hill, there’s the Super Walmart and Sam’s Club, which is almost always packed.

I’ve shopped at Walmart on occasion, but I’m not terribly impressed by it in general. It’s out of my way, for one thing, and it never fails that if I’m looking for a particular thing, they either don’t have it or if they do, it’s so cheaply made that I’d rather not waste the money to buy it when it looks as though it will fall apart within a month. Not to mention, when I walk into it, I feel like I’m walking into chaos.

On the other hand, there’s a Kmart several miles away from the mall which is more convenient to me, and I’ll shop there before I go anywhere else. The store’s been around since the mid-60s, and it’s a bit tattered around the edges, but the level of service is OK. It has a small-town atmosphere and some of the clerks have been there for decades, some even from other long out-of-business discount chains. It seems to generate a good business most of the time, and I’m going to be really annoyed if that’s the store that gets the axe rather than the Sears at the mall.

PatriotGal2257 on December 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Let’s do a little real world analysis on this. In order to claim unemployment you must apply for 3 new jobs, and you must not actually get or have a job. In November and December, many stores hire temp help for the holiday rush. If you get one of those temp jobs, you no longer qualify for unemployment. In other employment statistics they account for seasonal job fluctuations in certain times of year – and in doing so they compare the current year figure to prior years. In this article, the comparison is only to previous weeks – not the same weeks in prior years. Look for unemployment numbers to go back up in January after all the temps have been let go.

dentarthurdent on December 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Hey, How about that hope and change suckers?!?!?!?!

tom daschle concerned on December 29, 2011 at 2:10 PM

I have to to tell you that although I have loved Sears for years, within one week I experienced two very very poor customer service problems that did make me wonder how in the world they are still in business. One screw up (or the continuation of the same screw up) allowed my sister to get an extra 15% off of her purchase and that’s great but if you have a lot of that it can’t help your bottom line.

Cindy Munford on December 29, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Sears story time. I needed a new water heater. Went to local Sears store picked one out. Sales person assured me they had it in stock. Then proceed to pick out a relief valve for me. I told her I didn’t need a relief valve, that I had a new one at home. She told me that there was a law that said they couldn’t sell a water heater without selling me a relief valve. I called BS and said “Show me that law.” She proceeded to pull out a Sears sales manual and pointed to the pertinent passage…which said that the sales person should inform the customer that installation of water heaters had to be in compliance with local codes and that they should “offer” a relief valve for sale. I laughed and said “Call your manager, you need some help reading.” They sold me the water heater without the relief and then it turned out that there had been an inventory SNAFU and they really didn’t have the item in stock and would have to order it. I cancelled the sale and after wrangling with them over how to refund my money (reach into the cash register and hand me my check back) I went about half a mile and bought the water heater at Lowes. Should have gone there in the first place.

Oldnuke on December 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM

My 17-year-old son has been working at the local Dairy Queen for the past five months. He was hired along with a larger number of new workers than what I thought they needed, but then I figured they were planning on weeding some out. Nope. Now, during the slow season my son works about twelve hours per week. Maybe. And so do all the rest of the workers. My wife figures it this way: Dairy Queen is getting some kind of “incentive” to hire more workers than they really need to boost employment numbers, and if this is happening nationwide it may very well be having a severe impact on the phony job numbers. I hate Chicago politics ever since I spent twelve years living there. We absolutely MUST get rid of this administration!
HiJack on December 29, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Dairy Queen is owned by Warren Buffett. It all makes sense now… Doesn’t it?

oceansidecon on December 29, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Everytime they come up with these figures…they always have to adjust them upwards…unexpectedly…never downward!

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2011 at 3:23 PM

The Sears division does do something nice.

How does Sears treat its employees who are serving in our military? By law , they’re required to hold their jobs open, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being on active duty.

Sears voluntarily pays the difference in salaries and maintains all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all employees who are serving.

Why do they do this? Sears response to an email…

Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our men and women can make. This is the “least” we can do for them. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care
http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/47431

Deanna on December 29, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Bad news for America= Good news for “Real” America. What a disgraceful bunch of losers.

KeninCT on December 29, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Of course this was all unexpected, so what will the real number be when they have to unexpectedly revise the number up again later.

Beastdogs on December 29, 2011 at 5:30 PM

trigon on December 29, 2011 at 11:12 AM

i’ve been employed by Wal-Mart since May. My $7.85 an hour is helping us have a little extra to enjoy @ the family Reunion I’m part of right now….and will help pay for a trip back to Illinois in May…so we can see my son graduate from high school.
Wal-Mart doesn’t suck-at all.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 29, 2011 at 7:47 PM

HiJack on December 29, 2011 at 12:04 PM

You have my sympathies. In my city the usual tactic is the old standby of “toss your application in the recycle bin the minute you walk out the door, then ‘forget’ to call you back because ‘we’re so busy this week…”

It’s ridiculous. A friend remarked that she could end the recession by applying enough places, since it seemed to stimulate business so much.

MelonCollie on December 29, 2011 at 8:24 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on December 29, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Good for you. I really believe anyone who really wants a job can find one – it just may not be your ideal job, or pay as much as would like, or be at the same level you used to be – but the jobs are out there.

My wife’s brother works at Walmart after being fired from Applebee’s after 10 years because the new management thought he did not push liquor and dessert hard enough at lunch time. My Mom worked for Sears, Walmart and Sam’s Club – and I shop at all of them. I don’t ever go to Applebee’s any more.

dentarthurdent on December 29, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Probably a blip; we’ll know more in the coming months. No one pays attention to the weekly numbers, which is why the markets shrugged this off; the 4-week average is more telling. The December employment report will be more interesting.

TouchdownBuddha on December 29, 2011 at 11:21 PM

But now they come up with an entirely new Law Of Economics, that they intend to use repeatedly, so they can’t even claim they have a Mystery Accountant on staff who whispered it in their ear. They know if they repeat it enough times, and it’s mindlessly repeated in other news sources, it’ll just be accepted as true. And not just true, but too obvious to even question.

logis on December 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM

And as soon as the next republican is sworn in as POTUS, the magical new law will be repealed, to be replaced with one that reads “any good economic news is now unexpectedly bad and any bad economic news is now expectedly horrible”. It happens every single time and people still believe every word they write.

We’re doing this to ourselves folks.

runawayyyy on December 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

And as soon as the next republican is sworn in as POTUS, the magical new law will be repealed, to be replaced with one that reads “any good economic news is now unexpectedly bad and any bad economic news is now expectedly horrible”. It happens every single time and people still believe every word they write.

We’re doing this to ourselves folks.

runawayyyy on December 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

It’s not that everyone’s an airhead, you have to put in some actual effort to figure out what’s really going on.

Just a couple of years ago, when Bush was in office, I’d read articles clearly written as doom and gloom. Then I’d look it up and find out they were making mountains out of molehills – and sometimes there weren’t even any molehills to start with.

Now it’s the opposite. And I’m not even talking about the “positive” economic reporting. Even when I see an article about something that seems awful on its serfice, when I look into the details I’m blown away by how much WORSE things actually are than even the self-proclaimed “doom-and-gloomers” make out.

Almost everything that’s reported is the tip of another iceburg. Even things like Fast and Furious, Solandra and the trillion-dollar bailouts. As incredibly horrible as those things appear, every time I look into it further, it always gets a lot WORSE than I ever imagined it was.

There are lots of well-meaning jerks in the world, and a heck of a lot of them are politicians. But Obama and his inner circle do not belong to that group. They are doing all of this on purpose — to destroy a system they see as evil incarnate. It’s what they call “leveraging.” Even the billions of dollars here and there aren’t just stolen — they’re being purposefully used to intentionally destroy the foundations of American society.

Years after this guy is out of power – even assuming that happens shortly – we are still going to be finding monkey wrenches in the works and dealing from the fallout of this sabotage.

logis on December 30, 2011 at 10:41 AM