Weekly jobless claims steady, mainly, at 370K

posted at 11:21 am on May 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

“Steady,” in this case, depends on how one looks at the jobless claims numbers.  If we compare today’s figures to today’s adjusted figures from last week, then claims remained steady at 370,000.  However, that ignores the fact that the claims numbers got adjusted upward from last week’s announced 367,000 claims, the 61st week out of 62 that the claims numbers rose in the following week’s restatement:

In the week ending May 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure of 370,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 379,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending May 5, unchanged from the prior week’s revised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 5 was 3,265,000, an increase of 18,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,247,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,282,750, a decrease of 11,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,294,500.

Either way, the level of adjustment is small considering the numbers involved — less than 1%, basically statistical noise.  After spiking up to the 380-390K level in April, the numbers came down to the 350K level or so but are now slowly inching back up.  It’s still in roughly the same territory as we have had all year long, which suggests a continued stagnation in job markets at a low level, not a good sign for the summer.  Interestingly, that follows a very good industrial production number for April, which should have sparked a little more job creation.  However, after an apparent burst of overhiring this winter, it may take several months of sustained gains to have that kind of impact.

Bloomberg gave today’s weekly numbers a mild thumbs-down:

More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the labor market is making little progress.

Jobless claims were unchanged at 370,000 in the week ended May 12, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop in claims to 365,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls rose, while those receiving extended payments decreased.

The claims figures, reflecting dismissals, may raise concern payrolls will fail to pick up after employers in April added the fewest number of jobs in six months. The lack of a sustained rebound in hiring damps the outlook for consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy.

“This is just a steady moving along, claims are not getting worse at least,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, who correctly projected the number of claims. “We need to see more hiring. We don’t see that happening yet.”

Reuters is also mildly, if unexpectedly, gloomy:

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 365,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, fell 4,750 to 375,000.

“We are really not showing much momentum in the labor market at this time,” said Sean Incremona, an economist at 4Cast in New York.

The data comes on the heels of three straight months of slowing employment gains. Companies added 115,000 new jobs to their payrolls in April, the fewest in six months.

Thursday’s report on claims covered the week for May’s payrolls survey. The four-week average of new applications fell marginally between the April and May survey periods, suggesting not much change in labor market conditions.

To quote our President, employers got out over their skis a bit this winter in hiring.  It’s going to take sustained economic growth to kick-start job creation, and it’s been years since we’ve seen sustained, significant economic growth.  It looks like it will be a few more quarters before we get there, under these conditions.


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“Will work for weed, so long as we don’t have to show up for work,” -OWS.

Akzed on May 17, 2012 at 11:26 AM

It’s going to take sustained economic growth to kick-start job creation, and it’s been years since we’ve seen sustained, significant economic growth. It looks like it will be a few more quarters before we get there, under these conditions.

Yeah, I’m thinking around 3 more quarters until Obama is no longer President.

Doughboy on May 17, 2012 at 11:26 AM

GAY FORWARD !!!!!

Eph on May 17, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Steadily bad? Today’s number will be adjusted next week. Bottom line: another 370k people hit the bricks.

Another bunch used up the last of their unemployment.

Meanwhile Obama parties on.

dogsoldier on May 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM

370K to be adjusted upwards next week.

rhombus on May 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Steady,” in this case, depends on how one looks at the jobless claims numbers.

I hear some lapdog spokesperson describe these numbers as “good.” Then again, the Titanic got her smoke stacks washed so the incident wasn’t an entire disaster….groan.

Don L on May 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM

And, yet, Mitt goes the way of McCain.

Ricketts’ plan includes “preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting,” according to the paper and goes as far as suggesting the hiring of an “extremely literate conservative African-American” spokesman.

It also refers to an apparent ad featuring Wright that was produced for McCain’s 2008 campaign but never aired. “If the nation had seen that ad,” Ricketts writes, “they’d never have elected Barack Obama.”

“Joe Ricketts is prepared to spend significant resources in the 2012 election in both the presidential race and congressional races,” Brian Baker, the super PAC’s president, told the Times. “He is very concerned about the future direction of the country and plans to take a stand.”

On Thursday, Mitt Romney’s campaign urged the super PAC to avoid pursuing a racially charged campaign, while criticizing the Obama camp’s reported rhetoric.

“Unlike the Obama campaign, Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy, and we encourage everyone else to do the same,” Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, said in a statement to Yahoo News. “President Obama’s team said they would ‘kill Romney,’ and, just last week, David Axelrod referred to individuals opposing the president as ‘contract killers.’ It’s clear President Obama’s team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so.”

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Consumer Comfort Drops to Four-Month Low:

Link

Philly Fed Business Index Falls:

Link

Nick_Angel on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM

To quote our President, employers got out over their skis a bit this winter in hiring. It’s going to take sustained economic growth to kick-start job creation, and it’s been years since we’ve seen sustained, significant economic growth. It looks like it will be a few more quarters before we get there, under these conditions.

..to paraphrase ABC’s long defunct WWS, “about 22 more weeks of reports like this and The SCOAMF will be experiencing the agony of defeat.”

The War Planner on May 17, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Did the Redhead with the cellphone ever get a job or did she just join OWS? Can’t remember her Hot Air name.

Dingbat63 on May 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Holding this level, not improving or degrading. Some better news this week on industrial production and housing starts, although today’s Philly Fed number was disappointing (the Empire State number was, however, unexpectedly good). Right now all eyes are on Europe; everyone is trying to figure out how that scenario will play out, and what impact it will have on our economy. Markets are heading lower as investors head to safe ground in case Europe totally falls apart.

TouchdownBuddha on May 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM

..would not worry too much about this. This statement was just for effect. Waddya want them to say? “We’re arming our operatives to the teeth and we will take down every one of Asselhats’ on sight. Expect a blood bath of unheralded proportions.”

You know how the PACs disassembled his opponents in the primaries, doncha?

I’m thinking plausible deniablity here.

The War Planner on May 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM

“I did a little Blow when I could afford it”

Life was good in the Pre-Obama years.

Electrongod on May 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Trending nicely right into the stagflation economy of Jimmy Carter.

http://www.fiscalwars.wordpress.com

stout77 on May 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

TFGP has a laser sharp focus with improving the jobless claims of hairdressers, artists, wait staff and dancers…

hillsoftx on May 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

TFGP has a laser sharp focus with improving the jobless claims of hairdressers, artists, wait staff and dancers…

hillsoftx on May 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

..and interior decorators?

The War Planner on May 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

So. What ever happened to …”unexpectedly…” ????

Kuffar on May 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Did the Redhead with the cellphone ever get a job or did she just join OWS? Can’t remember her Hot Air name.

Dingbat63 on May 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

It’s tragic. Last we heard, Fiona was working in Columbia as an international hostess liaison with the Secret Service.

Fallon on May 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM

A few more months? A few more years if our 1st gay president stays in office.

Philly on May 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM

And, yet, Mitt goes the way of McCain.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM

It’s the Romney campaign’s strategery. Try to appear above the fray and don’t go after Obama on a personal level. Hence the constant drumbeat of “he’s a nice guy, but….”. It wouldn’t be my approach, but it does give Mittens the opportunity to take the moral high ground and call Obama out when he or his surrogates go after him(or his wife in the case of Hilary Rosen). Plus Romney does have the advantage of Obama having a lousy record he can’t hide from. McCain had to run against the blank slate messiah.

Doughboy on May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

As soon as we get a few million more people to quit looking for jobs the UE rate will be down in the 5% level.

GO OBAMANOMICS!!!!!!

jukin3 on May 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Did the Redhead with the cellphone ever get a job or did she just join OWS? Can’t remember her Hot Air name.

Dingbat63 on May 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

That would be the fair Fiona, if memory serves. She’s gotta be a 99er by now!

dogsoldier on May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Plus Romney does have the advantage of Obama having a lousy record he can’t hide from. McCain had to run against the blank slate messiah.

Doughboy on May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

I take exception to the idea that McCain ever actually ran a campaign in 2008.

Happy Nomad on May 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

This isn’t how you win a fight. Make them bob backward with a couple of jabs, then duck under an overhand hook, right into your uppercut!

Freelancer on May 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I have to tell you that I am thoroughly confused about the unemployment numbers at this point, which I believe was the goal. That said I still have to pump gas and buy groceries, keeping me firmly aware of whether my life has improved over the last three and a half years.

Cindy Munford on May 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Damn, now I can’t find where I left that comment (not hitair) where I predicted this.

I called last week’s report of 365 -> 367 as a “slight dip” from the revised 368 as the new normal lying.

And I called this week 369 would be a decrease from the revised 371.

I was within one on that call… and they’re doing the same thing. the same damned thing.

gekkobear on May 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Jim Cramer was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning. They were actually talking about the likelihood that we could be facing a downturn in the economy over the next 4-5-6 months, especially with the state of the European economy right now. They also said that it will be tough for Obama to be re-elected if the unemployment rate is over 8%, but, if it keeps improving and stays below 8%, well then he’s a winner.

HoosierStateofMind on May 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Nancy Pelosi was right! We need to get more people on Welfare and Unemployment in order to “stimulate” the economy. Tell Timmy to start printing more money! We’ll show those people in Zimbabwe how it’s really done!

GarandFan on May 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Chart of unemployment with fixed labor force participation rate.

Obama BLS rate in blue. Unemployment with fixed LFPR in red.

agmartin on May 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

…BendOver FORWARD…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

And, yet, Mitt goes the way of McCain.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 AM

2008 all over again…

Amazing, isn’t it, that when those same moronic Super PACs of his attacked Newt in FL with lying ads Mitt said that he is not in a position to demand that Super PACs do anything about it, after all, he has no control over them…

Right…

Not sure who the better choice is now between the two lying, conniving, progressive candidates, the devil we know or the devil we don’t (still). Just imagine where we be today had Romney condemned those lying ads on Newt in FL.

riddick on May 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

What’s with Obuzzword and his favorite cliche, “out over their skis a bit”? He’s used it a lot lately. This got anything to do with that “forward” slogan, which btw I haven’t heard much of this week. If anyone would know about being out over their skis–and a lot not just a bit–it would be Obanal whose been way far, far out over ‘em since day 1.

And so how are the job numbers gonna be computed over the next several weeks with all the graduates entering the workforce? How will they be counted–or not?

stukinIL4now on May 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Chart of unemployment with fixed labor force participation rate.

Obama BLS rate in blue. Unemployment with fixed LFPR in red.

agmartin on May 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

THe data, when graphed spells the name of the offensive party.

tom daschle concerned on May 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Interesting that there was a slight rise when just this last weekend 230k were dropped from the 99week rolls Hotair: Jobs benefits end for 230k

If 230k left the weekly jobless claims, yet we have a slightly higher number this week, does that mean we had slightly more than 230k newly added jobless claims this week?

Not sure how it works but seems like that would be the case. Anyone with the answer?

Ronaldusmax on May 17, 2012 at 7:12 PM