The latest data released on Thursday, November 17, 2010 by the Department of Labor states that new unemployment claims for the prior week increased slightly when looking at seasonally adjusted numbers. Using this data as a quick snapshot of the current trends in unemployment, one sees the situation relatively unchanged. The report states:
In the week ending Nov. 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 439,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 437,000. The 4-week moving average was 443,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 447,000.
In a sound economy one would expect the weekly new claims number to be in the 300,000-325,000 range, so the economy is still bleeding jobs at a rate well above normal. The seasonally adjusted numbers provide a better picture of the overall trends in unemployment, but there was some better news when looking at the unadjusted numbers for the week. When viewing the full report, the unadjusted number of job losses, although still troublesome, shows the following:
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 407,468 in the week ending Nov. 13, a decrease of 45,189 from the previous week. There were 475,701 initial claims in the comparable week in 2009.
A decrease of 45,189 from the previous week is a significant drop, but based on a “good economy” number of 325,000 a week, the scale of job losses is still running very high. Reality says not as bad is still bad, and one is reminded of the sobering fact that these are not numbers, they’re PEOPLE!
One cannot expect improvement in the jobs market while it is still trending at a rate of 1.8 million job losses per month. The long term unemployed, especially the 99ers currently trying to survive with no benefits whatsoever, face a real challenge in finding work in a continually deteriorating job market. The data still clearly indicates that passing unemployment extensions due to expire Nov. 30 are definitely warranted. The creation of additional weeks or a Tier V for the 99ers is also definitely warranted.
Now that the midterm elections are behind us, job creation bills, unemployment extensions, and the creation of a Tier V should be the number one priority of Congress going into a lame duck session. Millions upon millions of suffering Americans deserve relief and action by Congress and by President Obama. They have waited too long as it is.