Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jobless claims drop slightly, revisions account for most of drop

Hot off the Dept of Labor’s website:

In the week ending Aug. 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 472,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 478,000. The 4-week moving average was 485,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average of 488,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5 percent for the week ending Aug. 21, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.5 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 21 was 4,456,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,479,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,485,250, a decrease of 28,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,513,750.

The fiscal year-to-date average of seasonally adjusted weekly insured unemployment, which corresponds to the appropriated AWIU trigger, was 4.994 million. 

Not much to write about, except that, for the first time in quite a while the weekly jobless claims are in line with analyst expectations.  Also, note that the revision from last week’s 473,000 SAA accounts for 5,000 of the 6,000 decrease.  The labor market is still dragging along.

Analysts are now waiting tomorrow’s non-farm payroll figures and unemployment rate.  Expectations there are for the private sector to have lost somewhere on the order of 90,000 to 100,000 jobs, with the public sector adding somewhere near 125,000 (net +25,000 to +30,000); and for the unemployment rate to have increased slightly to 9.6%.

Call me a pessimist, but I’m taking the under on payrolls and the over on the unemployment rate.  For the former, the jobs market has just been too weak for private sector losses to be offset and overcome to the tune of +25,000 new payrolls.  And for the latter, extension of jobless benefits the prior month likely encouraged the discouraged to re-encourage themselves and re-enter the job market.  Let’s see if it doesn’t go to 9.7% or perhaps even 9.8%.  The media would make hay with such an increase, even though it doesn’t really mean much in terms of the overall labor market picture. 

It’s weak, it’s not improving much, and there aren’t many bright spots to point at and develop some enthusiasm.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.


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