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Jobless Claims Down 15K, After Going Up 21K

From an always desperate to believe Associated Press:

Fewer people sought unemployment aid last week

January 5, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell further last week, ending the year on a three-month run of declines that point to stronger hiring in 2012.

Weekly applications dropped by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 last week, the Labor Department said. That’s 11 percent lower than the same time last year and a positive sign ahead of Friday’s important read on December job growth.

In typical fashion the AP neglects to mention that the previous week’s new unemployment claims number was actually up by a whopping 21,000. In fact, that terrible news got practically no attention last week, since it was reported during the Christmas holidays.

The four-week average, which smooths [sic] fluctuations, fell to 373,250 — the lowest level since June 2008.

When applications drop below 375,000 — consistently — they generally signal that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

How many times have we been told that some ‘number X’ of new jobless claims will be enough to lower the unemployment rate, and then the monthly unemployment rate stays the same or even goes up?

But as we have said before, the unemployment situation is a little like losing your hair. Eventually you are going to run out of hair to lose. And that could be what is happening in the jobs market. There just aren’t as many jobs left to shed.

Hiring strengthened at the end of last year and economists expect it will pick up even further this year.

Economists surveyed by the Associated Press project that the economy will generate an average of 175,000 jobs per month this year. That would be a step up from average monthly gains of 130,000 last year and 78,000 in 2010.

On Friday, the Labor Department reports on hiring in December. Economists predict that employers added 150,000 net jobs, which would be an improvement from November’s gain of 120,000

Well, if that is what the economists expect, it will surely come to pass. After all, when have they ever been wrong before?

Besides, counting on the Obama administration to give us accurate statistics about the economy is like giving the scoreboard controls to an NFL head coach and trusting him to keep it fair.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 5th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

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