Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekly jobless claims take another slight dip

Fresh from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Website:

In the week ending Oct. 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 445,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 456,000. The 4-week moving average was 455,750, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average of 458,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5 percent for the week ending Sept. 25, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 3.6 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sept. 25 was 4,462,000, a decrease of 48,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,510,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,510,750, a decrease of 27,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,538,500.

The fact that it’s a positive number is its only positive feature.  If we were really recovering, we would see much larger decreases in weekly jobless claims.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll get the last clear pre-election snapshot of the employment picture with the release of September payroll data, non-farm employment and the unemployment rate.

Yesterday’s release of ADP’s National Employment Report indicated weakness, but the Department of Labor has a much larger reach in terms of sample size and survey depth.  As Ed Morrissey of Hot Air points out, the ADP number is more of a directional signpost than it is a determinative or predictive indicator.

And, as discussed at Calculated Risk, the 39,000 loss was far, far below forecaster estimates, so the signpost is clearly pointing down.

Today’s weekly jobless claims data indicates that the figures we get tomorrow probably won’t be as bad as the ADP report suggests.  The weekly figures have been stubbornly hanging around a 4-week moving average of about 440,000 to 450,000 for the entire month of September.

At any rate, only a stellar increase of 100,000+ new non-farm payrolls and a 0.1 to 0.2% decrease in the unemployment rate will give Democrats something to go home and talk about.  There is nothing in any of the data we’ve seen for September to indicate that’s going to happen.

The labor market remains stubbornly weak and should stay that way through the calendar year.


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