Four-week jobless claim average hits new high in 2012

posted at 10:01 am on June 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The news today from the Department of Labor wasn’t terribly dramatic, in and of itself.  Once again, weekly initial jobless claims dipped, but only because the previous week’s dip got adjusted upwards for the 4,786th week out of 4,787:

In the week ending June 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 387,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 389,000. The 4-week moving average was 386,250, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 382,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending June 9, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 9 was 3,299,000, unchanged from the preceding week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 3,293,750, an increase of 5,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,288,500.

Reuters, however, notices something a bit more newsworthy — and since I pick on them over their reporting on this series, it’s only fair to give them credit for this (emphasis mine):

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was little changed last week, according to government data on Thursday that suggested the labor market was struggling to regain momentum.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 380,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, increased 3,500 to 386,250 — the highest level since early December.

Now, you may wonder how we got to the highest 4-week average of initial jobless claims for the year, when nearly every week the DoL reports a decline in the number of jobless claims from the week before.  A lot of us are wondering the same thing about the initial estimates, which always have to get raised the next week.  There is something amiss in the methodology, and it’s easy to assume it’s malicious, but in the end it doesn’t do much to help or hinder anyone.  It’s the four-week average that most economists use anyway.

Clearly, using that measure, the coming jobs report for June is not going to improve much over May.  The Fed also seems to think so, and they’re twisting the night (and day) away to try to wring a little more short-term growth out of the moribund economy:

Federal Reserve officials extended their efforts to boost the sluggish U.S. economy and said they were ready to do more if necessary to spur job growth.

They acted despite worries inside and outside the Fed that the central bank already has done all it can do to invigorate the disappointing economic recovery.

The Fed said Wednesday it would extend through the end of the year a program known as “Operation Twist,” which aims to drive down long-term interest rates and reduce borrowing costs for businesses and households. Under the program, the Fed sells short-term securities and uses the proceeds to buy longer-term securities.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear in a news conference after the policy makers’ meeting that he is prepared to take further action if he doesn’t see progress on bringing down unemployment, which was 8.2% in May.

They won’t be the only ones twisting, either.  If the June jobs report shows another sub-par or worse month, Obama’s “private sector is doing fine” and Tom Vilsack’s “the economy has turned the corner” remarks are going to get used as clubs against the administration all summer long.  And at this point, not even Reuters can claim that such a result would be unexpected.


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Where is Fiona?

OmahaConservative on June 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

but only because the previous week’s dip got adjusted upwards for the 4,786th week out of 4,787

Heh.

Weight of Glory on June 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Rook!

If the June jobs report shows another sub-par or worse month, Obama’s “private sector is doing fine” and Tom Vilsack’s “the economy has turned the corner” remarks are going to get used as clubs against the administration all summer long.

Swing away, Merrill! Heh.

Battlecruiser-operational on June 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

LIVE BLOG of SCOTUS DECISION…..

http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/live-blog-of-opinions-sponsored-by-bloomberg-law-4/

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Smell the recovery.

Bishop on June 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Obviously Hot Air and the posters here want America to fail so they can hurt America’s first black precedent chances for re-election. I denounce us all as racists for this report.

Skwor on June 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM

But the trend ends next week when they can include the data from Obama’s paid astroturfers…/

hillsoftx on June 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I’d not be surprised if the offices at the Bureau of Labor Statistics all have “Office Space” style banners up everywhere that say, “Is this good for President Obama?”

wildcat72 on June 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Why does Bush continually keep our economy hostage!!!!!11!!1!!!

gwelf on June 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I blame the Taft administration.

mankai on June 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM

And if the SCOTUS upholds Obamacare the unemployed will be forced to buy an affordable health policy so they have that going for them.

docflash on June 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

…the media will really cover this trend!
…they’ll be busy reporting how JugEars is so humane to give almost a million people the right to quit “hiding”…so no one will ask about the two or four hundred we killed with a federal ‘sting’ operation down in Mexico.
The weather is hot!

KOOLAID2 on June 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Uppereastside has a job so….

“I don’t care….” – Upper

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Official word from the Obama Administration: It is Bush’s fault. And you all are racists.

DVPTexFla on June 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

I blame the Taft administration.

mankai on June 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM

There was no Country before Bush…

I hear that Bush chopped down the cherry tree…

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Unemployed Stormtroopers? Not with this administration.

Scriptor on June 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM

decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure

The popcorn and lemonade stands outside of the Supreme Court will probably reverse last week’s decrease.

bettycooper on June 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

O/T Guy Benson on twitter

Right-wing extremists Ginsburg and Sotomayor side with fellow conservatives against SEIU. The court’s reputation is in peril.

txhsmom on June 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

We don’t know what the next opinion is. We expect another one, which would not be from either Justice Sotomayor or Justice Kagan, because the Court goes in order of reverse seniority and the Knox case was by Justice Alito. So it will be Alito or one of the more senior Justices.

from blog.

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM

I don’t think little Bammie wants unemployment to drop back to the levels seen under President George W. Bush. If they do, fewer people are dependent on the government, spending on government charity will go down, and there will be less a sense of crisis for him to take advantage of.

If he cared, wouldn’t he be trying to do more about it?

slickwillie2001 on June 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM

LIVE BLOG of SCOTUS DECISION…..

http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/06/live-blog-of-opinions-sponsored-by-bloomberg-law-4/

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

PappyD61:–:)
==============

https://twitter.com/scotusblog

http://www.supremecourt.gov/

canopfor on June 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM

I blame the Taft administration.

mankai on June 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM

lol … that was so much funnier than it should have been. :)

Axe on June 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Not good news for Team Blue!!

canopfor on June 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Maybe Obama can have the feds do another census, because that gives people jobs. He knows constitutional law, and the once every 10 years provision is clearly just a minimum requirement.

GaltBlvnAtty on June 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Interesting. I thought they were done for the day.

txhsmom on June 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Uppereastside has a job so….

“I don’t care….” – Upper

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

…he’s singing that Otis Redding song “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”

KOOLAID2 on June 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Amy:

To answer a recurring question, the Court is scheduled to release opinions again on Monday. Depending on how many opinions it releases today, we expect at least one additional decision day to be added next week, but we don’t know for sure whether that will happen or when it will be.

When we find out, we will pass that info on, either via the Live Blog or an editor’s note on the blog.

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

If he cared, wouldn’t he be trying to do more about it?

slickwillie2001 on June 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Only non-Obama supporters are out-of-work….

I mean…
The one’s that want to work…

Who in their right mind would support Obama and be looking for employment?

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

“Fiona? Are you in there, under the storm trooper armor?”

Archivarix on June 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

There was no Country before Bush…

I hear that Bush chopped down the cherry tree…

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Benedict Arnold would be a national American Hero if it weren’t for Bush starting all those illegal wars. Bush forced Arnold to make a poor choice becuase of his morally superior anti-war, pro environment philosophies.

Skwor on June 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

4-week average now firmly planted between 350K and 400K; the Spring slowdown has continued into June. We are not expecting much from the June employment report in a couple of weeks – probably less than 100K – as business seems to be in wait and see mode. Global slowdown in China, India, and Europe continues to take a toll, but there are signs that Europe may be slowly getting its act together. We’ll be watching reports out of the European leaders’ meetings with interest. Markets are taking it all in stride, and there is more apprehension (not exactly fear)than greed right now, so this is a good buying opportunity.

TouchdownBuddha on June 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM

…this should help get JugEars on Mt. Rushmore…for sure!

KOOLAID2 on June 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM

AMY:

To reiterate, we don’t know what the next opinion will be. It won’t be from Justices Alito, Sotomayor, or Kagan, b/c the last opinion was from Justice Breyer.


Will we face death panels?

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM

…this should help get JugEars on Mt. Rushmore…for sure!

KOOLAID2 on June 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Not enough room….
JugEars and two Teleprompters?

Easter Island would be a better choice.

He can stare out at the lowering oceans..

Electrongod on June 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

10:26

Amy:
That is all for today.

No opinion today.

PappyD61 on June 21, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Where is Fiona?

OmahaConservative on June 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Off the rolls and out of the workforce.

Steve Eggleston on June 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

OK, so how many weeks has the jobless rate had to be adjusted upwards now? 88 or 89? How is it that with a track record of being wrong every single week for 88 or 89 straight weeks that any of those people still have jobs themselves?

SWalker on June 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Where is Fiona?

OmahaConservative on June 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

She’s living in a tent down by the river.

oldroy on June 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Thank you, President Obama!

Count it!

-cccp6 2009-2011

/

mankai on June 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

I blame RIchard III.

Hell, make it Ogg the Caveman…

Rixon on June 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM

“The private sector is doing fine.” — Barry Hussein Kardashian Øbama

petefrt on June 21, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Boooooooooooosh!!!!!

daj on June 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The 0bama regime ain’t got nothing on Orwell. Mini-Tru lives!

jukin3 on June 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

I had two friends in different parts of the country laid off this week. Prospects poor for both. One has a family to support, the other supports self. Both asking, “Now what?”

UnderstandingisPower on June 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Listen. You don’t hear a word from, among others, the Hollywood gang.

The actors and film aristocracy love to hobnob with our POTUS and pontificate on the talent of our elected officials and the quality of their programs.

Here we have a definite problem. It is not in Darfur. It is not a war which can be criticized by the reams of negative film and comments about it.

The same clowns and fakes who think their opinions (based on the most superficial and stylish of information) are so valuable on the most august issues our nation faces have no idea what to say when you have a problem with measurable parameters and finite solutions.

C’mon Mr. Clooney, since you are an expert on foreign policy and presidential politics, tell us how we can save the economy.

IlikedAUH2O on June 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

So this pretty much means June job numbers are going to be somewhere in the same range as May, right? Like about 80,000 jobs.

eyedoc on June 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM

C’mon Mr. Clooney, since you are an expert on foreign policy and presidential politics, tell us how we can save the economy.

IlikedAUH2O on June 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

George will get back to you on that just as soon as he gets the new revised script, in the mean time he asks that you watch very carefully as he stares at Obama’s favorite goat until it falls over.

SWalker on June 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Thank you, President Obama!
Count it!
-cccp6 2009-2011
/
mankai on June 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Memories,
Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were

*sniff*

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 21, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Obama gets the economic news HE is responsible for…

COUNT IT!!

Khun Joe on June 21, 2012 at 11:09 AM

What a joke.

forest on June 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM

When are they going to add in the 1 million+ illegal aliens Obama is illegally adding to the work force?

The Rogue Tomato on June 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.

So next week that 2,000 dip will be “revised upwards”?

GarandFan on June 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

If the June jobs report shows another sub-par or worse month, Obama’s “private sector is doing fine” and Tom Vilsack’s “the economy has turned the corner” remarks are going to get used as clubs against the administration all summer long. And at this point, not even Reuters can claim that such a result would be unexpected.

They will. You know they will. They cannot help themselves, they are such demwit cheerleaders.

June’s job report will probably be very poor. There isn’t a lot of hiring going on. But layoffs are happening everywhere. US companies see Taxmageddon coming and the EU imploding. Asia and South American economies have ground to a halt.

The dems and socialists simply do not understand what they have done, which explains the shocked looks on their faces when their tactics blow up in their faces.

In our case all Obama and company have done is attempt to fix the SYMPTOMS, not the PROBLEM. They are uniquely unequipped to fix the PROBLEM because the correct repair is contrary to their ideology and therefore they refuse to accept it.

dogsoldier on June 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Obama: Umm…the economy is doing just fine.

timberline on June 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I don’t know if this has been said yet: UNEXPECTEDLY.

ricor on June 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

It’s the four-week average that most economists use anyway.

Yeah, but it’s the headline that most people read, and form their opinion from. In many circles, the headline is all that matters and the AP and Reuters dutifully report the drop week after week in the headline.

BKeyser on June 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM

This can’t be right. Didn’t Obama just ADD 800,000 new unemployed to the numbers? When do the numbers unexpectedly reflect that? BTW, have the Pretorian Guard banned the use of private computers to communicate the Labor Department’s numbers yet? Or is that scheduled for October?

Portia46 on June 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

So next week that 2,000 dip will be “revised upwards”?

GarandFan on June 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

As sure as we’re here. After all, 66 of the last 67 weeks (or is it 68 of the last 69; I lost count), there has been an upward revision. Indeed, given the average upward revision over the last 60-some weeks has been nearly +4K, the final number will be at least 390,000 freshly-minted unemployed.

Steve Eggleston on June 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

TDBudha – Agreed, except for Europe. Real tough nut to crack there. Big financial funds are beginning to pull out of the bond markets, China has already signaled they aren’t going to be buying much debt as they are looking inward. The amount of money needed for Italy and Spain alone is now above 1T euros. They don’t have the money, not even Germany does.

Frances new govt is getting ready to choke on it. There is alway smoney to be made in any market – play bond rates to continue to move higher, short the hell out of the Euro, and be wary. Three of the four largest economies on the continent (Italy, Spain, France) are viewd as some of the most unforgiving places to invest capital. It is leaving, not staying.

Europe, I am afraid to say, has much more falling to do and the UK won’t escape unharmed, and sadly neither will we. A Mittens win would help mitigate the impact but still strong headwinds.

Zomcon JEM on June 21, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Has anybody looked into the 4.2 Million jobs the J@ck@ss-In-Chief keeps bragging about, and if ANY of those 4.2 million have already LOST their jobs as a result of the economic conditions as well as the J@ck@ss-In-Chief’s policies????

Colatteral Damage on June 21, 2012 at 6:27 PM