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Jobless Hit Record – AP Calls It A ‘Drop’

From those fearless spinners at the Associated Press:

Unemployment rate. (Chart from the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, not the Associated Press.)

New jobless claims drop to 601K; retail sales rise

By Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – The number of newly laid-off Americans filing jobless claims fell more than expected last week and retail sales grew in May for the first time in three months. But a rise in the number of people continuing to receive jobless aid signaled that an economic recovery is still far off.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 601,000. That’s below analysts’ estimates of 615,000.

Still, the number of people claiming benefits for more than a week rose by 59,000 to more than 6.8 million, the highest on records dating to 1967. The department also revised last week’s data on continuing claims, replacing what had been a drop of 15,000 with an increase of 6,000.

That means continuing claims have set records for 19 straight weeks. The data lag initial claims by a week.

Retail sales rose for the first time in three months in May, as a rebound in demand at auto dealerships and gas stations helped offset weakness at department stores. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased by 0.5 percent last month, in line with economists’ expectations. It was the largest increase since sales rose 1.7 percent in January following six straight declines.

Excluding autos, retail sales also grew 0.5 percent in May, better than the 0.2 percent gain that economists had expected…

Consumers may be spending a bit more and layoffs may be slowing, but companies are reluctant to hire amid the longest recession since World War II. That makes it harder for the unemployed to find work.

Jobless claims are a measure of the pace of layoffs and are seen as a timely, if volatile, indicator of the economy’s health.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out fluctuations, fell to 621,750, down from a high of about 658,000 in early April. Many economists see the decline as a sign that layoffs have peaked and the recession is bottoming out.

Still, the levels are far above what is customary in a healthy economy. Initial claims stood at 388,000 a year ago.

The department said last week that companies eliminated a net total of 345,000 jobs in May. While steep, that’s about half the monthly average of jobs lost in the first quarter.

Yet the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May, a 25-year high, as hundreds of thousands of people entered the labor market and began looking for work but couldn’t find it, the department said…

The unemployment rate has reached its highest peak since 1967, but because it is not going up as fast as some (unidentified) economists predicted, the Associated Press claims in their headline and lead that unemployment has “dropped.”

That is really all you need to know about the AP’s regard for the truth.

And is it really hard to figure out why retail sales have gone up in auto dealerships and gas stations?

People are trying to get what they can, while they still can.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “Jobless Hit Record – AP Calls It A ‘Drop’”

  1. proreason says:

    Future headline from the Proreason Press:

    (pp) February, 2010: New Jobless Claims Drop to zero. Bush Recession ends!

    There were no new jobless claims last week, signaling an official end to the Bush Recession.

    Proreason Press has determined that the total number of private sector jobs at the end of January was zero, which may have contributed to President Obama’s stunning accomplishment.

    Government employment remains at an all-time high.

  2. Douglas says:

    Certainly you saw this graph that was linked to from Ann Coulter’s web site yesterday.

  3. I love it. I had someone say to me that unemployment was slowing, thus showing that was Obama was doing was working. How does that show anything of the sorts? I guess you can twist statistics any way you like as long as it fits what you want.

    I mentioned to him that a month or so ago I read an article saying the same thing (unemployment has slowed, therefore Obama is awesome), and then noted soon after that the Dow dipped again and there was another surge of unemployment claims. I would laugh at this person, really, if it wasn’t so sad that so many people are losing their jobs.

  4. tranquil.night says:

    “Unemployment? Too negative for the Oconomy. We’ll have an ‘Employment’ statistic where we report how many people actually have jobs. And if the number goes down? We just won’t report it.” TOTUS

  5. Right of the People says:

    Down is up, up is down. Black is white, white is black. Welcome to the delusional world of Barry O, the Teleprompter King. All bow down to King Barry, Huzzah, Huzzah!

  6. U NO HOO says:

    Cut to the chase, unemployment starts to rise in January 2007 when the Democrats take over Congress.


  7. proreason says:

    This link gives interesting insights into the government’s employment / unemployment numbers.


    There are 2 separate numbers.

    – 345,000 comes from a survey of US payrolls. It means there were 345K fewer payroll jobs
    – 787,000 comes from a household survey (the bls survey I talked about yesterday). It means 787K “new” people were looking for work last month. It doesn’t tell you why more people were suddenly looking for work than were laid-off. The author speculates it might mean that people are becoming more hopeful. But I wonder if it might also mean that a lot of people who were self-employed were suddenly looking for work.

    The author’s conclusion is that it is really hard to say whether the Depression Stimulus is working or not.

    My conclusion is the government doesn’t have a clue about anything.

    • David says:

      What affect would all the high school and college kids looking for summer jobs have on those numbers?

    • JohnMG says:

      …..”My conclusion is the government doesn’t have a clue about anything…..”

      Allow me to expand on that. My conclusion is the voting public doesn’t have a clue about anything, thus we have a government led by a president that……”doesn’t have a clue about anything”, who chooses a cabinet that…..”doesn’t have a clue about anything”.

      And we should be surprised?

    • proreason says:

      “What affect would all the high school and college kids looking for summer jobs have on those numbers?” good thought, David.

      That might explain why 787K (looking for work) is so much bigger than 345K (payroll jobs lost).

      If that is the reason, we might see “payroll jobs lost” improve as summer jobs are filled, and then get worse by the same amount at the end of the summer.

      Which could mean that Obammy will declare a miracle next month. It sounds so reasonable that I’m now on the alert for hints about the wonderment to come as June progresses.

    • JohnMG says:

      …..”we might see “payroll jobs lost” improve as summer jobs are filled…..”

      Keep this in mind. In some states, teachers are eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months, along with the school bus drivers who “technically” can’t persue their line of work during those months, since they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

    • proreason says:

      “In some states, teachers are eligible for unemployment benefits ”

      It sounds like they could make the stats say almost anything during the summer.

      So far, I haven’t heard that they have messed with the “payroll jobs lost” unemployment figure.

      I wonder if they will begin to interpret the data for us to prove how many jobs they have saved…..particularly since they have already admitted that a lot of the 600,000 job they will “save” will be summer jobs (which one of their economist liars did admit will count less than full jobs)

    • heykev says:

      Pro – I to would agree that “the government does not have a clue about anything.”

      As someone whose unemployed, I know literally a hundred people who, like me, are our of work. Some are small business owners who simply cannot find enough customers to maintain business. Most are like me and have been laid off from their job. The sad part is that BHO and his minions are adding time to this recession and making it into a Depression because of their “shovel-ready stimulus packages.”

      Here’s an interesting quote from an article from “The Daily Reckoning” web site entitled “An Even Greater Depression.”

      “here are the same economists who mismanaged the economy, offering advice to governments who mismanaged their regulatory roles, about how to keep mismanaged companies alive, so that bondholders who mismanaged their investments might not go broke. That this will result in more misery is a foregone conclusion.”

      So not only do we have incompetent government, we also have incompetent economists, who’d be better predicting the weather. At least if their wrong, no one loses their job or a lifetime of savings.

  8. MinnesotaRush says:

    Hey c’mon now! The o-blah-blah is busy saving or creating 70 billion jobs here.

    I know it’s true. He said so.

    Or maybe that was next week.

  9. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Ain’t as easy as it looks, is it, Barry?

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