Data from the Department of Labor released on Thursday, October 7, 2010 shows that initial unemployment claims for the week ending October 2, 2010 stood at a seasonably adjusted rate of 445,000. These new unemployment claims represent a net decrease of 11,000 claims from the previous week. The four week moving average of 455,750 for initial claims also represents a decline of 3,000 from the prior 4 week moving average. While it is good news that the country is seeing a drop in the amount of new jobless claims, it would be wrong to conclude that the economy is improving at a rate necessary to correct the current plight of the unemployed and 99ers in particular.
A review of data available on the Department of Labor website for the period from January 2007 through September 11, 2010 provides the following data for Initial Claims (seasonally adjusted):
Low 5/12/07 296,000
High 3/28/09 651,000
Today 10/7/10 445,000
In reviewing the most recent data provided, one can quickly see that the good news is that the economy is not bleeding jobs at the massive rate of 651,000 jobs a week as seen at the end of March 2009. The bad news is that at 445,000 new claims, the patient is still bleeding badly. As one can discern from the data provided above, the rate of new job losses at 445,000 is still a very serious number, one far from indicating a recovery in today’s very stubborn jobs market.
Total employment in the United States maxed out at 146,483,000 in November of ’07 while initial claims for the same month averaged 336,000. This November ’07 number is considerably below the current 4 week average of 455,750 initial claims. Today’s initial claim level of 445,000 represents an increase of 119,750 claims as compared to the November ’07 averages.
When comparing this weeks data against May 2007’s low of 296,000 initial claims, today’s numbers would represent an increase of 149,000 (+50.3%) initial claims from May ’07’s lows. With this apple’s to apple’s comparison of today’s numbers with data representing the economy during a healthier state, one can easily conclude that we have a long way to go to stop the bleeding in the jobs market.
Those that want to put a positive spin on today’s numbers will say the patient is getting better because the blood loss has been reduced, but any doctor worth his salt would look at these numbers and correctly conclude that the patient is still bleeding to death! All the while our beloved Congress is out in an early recess choosing to campaign for re-election in the mid-terms instead of working to provide a solution for this major problem. The 99ers that have run out of unemployment benefits, the thousands of unemployed that join them every week, and those that are concerned for them are left to ask Congress and President Obama the following: why have you forsaken them?