Thursday, August 27, 2009
This is silly:
NYTimes headline: First-Time U.S. Jobless Claims Fall Again
The government said Thursday that the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits dropped last week, and the number of people remaining on the rolls also fell, evidence that layoffs have eased. (...)
The Labor Department said in a statement Thursday that first-time unemployment claims fell to a seasonally-adjusted 570,000, down from an upwardly revised figure of 580,000 the previous week. Analysts had expected a slightly larger drop to 565,000.
Let's compare apples to apples. The non-revised figure from last week was 576,000.
This week it's 570,000. Difference is 6,000 or a tad over 1%.
The headline should have been that first-time jobless claims are essentially unchanged. (Actually, the non-revised figures show an increase.)
Interesting to note the prevalence of economic "happy talk" for much of this year.
Any drop, no matter how small, is good. No change is better than a further drop. The stock market recovery started this way.
Preception and public confidence are a big part of the picture. You can't ignore that.
> Reason:The government said Thursday that
> the number of newly laid-off workers
> filing claims for jobless benefits dropped last
As more and more companies shut down, there are fewer and fewer people working and fewer and fewer working Americans to be laid off. Hence the easing absolute number of new claims.
I'd like to see layoffs as a percentage of the working labor force then and now. That would be a more meaningful statistic.
> and the number of people remaining
> on the rolls also fell, evidence that
> layoffs have eased.
Funny. When Bush was in office, this was evidence that people were becoming discouraged and becoming permanently unemployed after using up their unemployment benefits.
With Obama in office, this magically becomes evidence that layoffs have eased.
> First-time unemployment claims fell to a
> seasonally-adjusted 570,000, down from an
> upwardly revised figure of 580,000 the
> previous week.
Notice how it works? They lowball the rate for this week, and compare it to the "upwardly revised" rate from last week. Good news! The rate is decreasing.
When they compare next week's lowballed rate to this week's "upwardly revised" rate, they will probably discover that the rate has fallen again!
It's all good news. Rainbows! Unicorns!