“Initial jobless claims fell by 22,000 to 432,000 in the week ended Dec. 26, the lowest level since July 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell [by 57,000] in the prior week to 4.98 million [but] those receiving extended benefits jumped [by 199,000 to 4.82 million].”
U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Level Since 2008 [Bloomberg]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by diemos

    It’s great that the rate at which jobs are being lost is decreasing. But what’s needed is to regenerate all the jobs that have been lost. Too much of the current “good news” is a mirage created by people being out of work long enough that they no longer count as “unemployed”.
    If you look closely at the green shoots in employment it turns out to be astro-turf.

  2. Posted by ex SF-er

    it’s good that initial claims continue to drop. Of course in normal times a number above 400,000 would inspire fear. Now we consider this number “good” because it’s better than 650,000.
    it’s also worrisome that those receiving extended benefits rose by 199k when initial claims only droped about 57k.
    so the increase in extended claims is almost 4x greater than the decrease in initial claims.
    it goes along with what most of us have noted: main street continues to struggle mightily whereas connected industries (like financials) and supported areas (like equities and housing) improve.

  3. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Just being unemployed for a long time does not make you count as out of the work force. You have to stop looking for work. But I can see how someone who has been unemployed for long enough might stop looking for work.

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    asymptote below
    smooth exponential decay
    rate decrease surprise ?

  5. Posted by NoeValleyJim
    Some important excerpts:
    The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed in November at 65.0 percent. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.5 percent. (See table A-1.)
    This proves that the unemployment rate is not going down simply because people have given up looking for work.
    Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in November (-11,000). Job losses in the construction, manufacturing, and information industries were offset by job gains in temporary help services and health care.
    Manufacturing is continuing to get hammered. This is unfortunate.
    Manufacturing employment fell by 41,000 in November. The average monthly decline for the past 5 months (-46,000) was much lower than the average monthly job loss for the first half of this year (-171,000). About 2.1 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since December 2007; the majority of this decline has occurred in durable goods manufacturing (-1.6 million).
    This is really a sector in America that needs to recover for us to have a strengthening economy.
    Employment in professional and business services rose by 86,000 in November. Temporary help services accounted for the majority of the increase, adding 52,000 jobs. Since July, temporary help services employment has risen by 117,000.
    In November, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.2 hour to 33.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.3 hour to 40.4 hours. Factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Since May, the manufacturing workweek has increased by 1.0 hour. (See table B-2.)
    In November, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 1 cent, or 0.1 percent, to $18.74. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent, while average weekly earnings have risen by 1.6 percent. (See table B-3.)

    Now granted these are modest gains, but they are in fact gains, and this is the first month that this is true. The boost in overtime and temp employment usually proceeds an improvement in unemployment numbers.
    I don’t see anything in this report that indicates that these changes are “astroturf” or anything like that. It is not only government employment that increased.
    These increases are good signs for the future, but I don’t think that any temp workers are going to be buying homes, especially not in San Francisco. So it will be a while before changes in employment improve the local real estate market.

  6. Posted by SocketSite

    “Initial jobless applications climbed to 434,000 in the week ended Jan. 2, from a 16-month low of 433,000 the prior week…”
    Jobless Claims in U.S. Increased Less Than Forecast [Bloomberg]

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