Just to set the context of this position from yesterday’s Senate Republican conference call, let’s take a look at this morning’s news on job losses. More than 2.4 million Americans filed new jobless claims last week, a sharp drop from the week before but still far above anything seen in the Great Recession:
In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,438,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 294,000 from 2,981,000 to 2,687,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,042,000, a decrease of 501,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 73,500 from 3,616,500 to 3,543,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 17.2 percent for the week ending May 9, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous week’s revised rate. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.2 from 15.7 to 15.5 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 9 was 25,073,000, an increase of 2,525,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 285,000 from 22,833,000 to 22,548,000. The 4-week moving average was 22,002,250, an increase of 2,313,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 71,250 from 19,760,000 to 19,688,750.
There is actually a couple of glimmers of good news in this report, albeit tough to see amid the unending destruction of jobs. The trend is at least going in the right way, obviously, but the revision downward last week is (I believe) the first significant revision in that direction from a previous week since the crisis began. That suggests — suggests, mind you — that the backlog of claimants has abated significantly. We may have a more reliable number as a result, so that at least we can say that the situation is likely no worse than 2.4 million jobs getting vaporized in a week.