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The Department of Labor this morning reported a seasonally adjusted rise of 24,000 to 399,000 in first-time applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending Jan. 7. The four-week moving average preferred by many economic analysts because it flattens volatility rose to 381,750 from the previous week's revised average of 374,000. A year ago at this time the weekly number was 437,000 and and the four-week running average was 420,000.

The significant jump could be an indication that temporary hiring of package delivery personnel and retail workers in December was larger than expected. The median forecast of the 46 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 375,000. The rise could be bad news for a labor market that has been improving at a slightly accelerated rate the past few months. The claims figures, like other job reports, are especially volatile around the holiday season. The first week of the year typically shows a high number of claims.

“Labor demand is still not strong enough to support a complete jobs recovery,” Henry Mo, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York, said before the report. Even so, “the labor market is heading in the right direction.”

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 05:57 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos, Progressive Hippie, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, looks like I had a lot of company! (14+ / 0-)

    Though it sure didn't feel like it, filing for unemployment for the first time in my life.

    Meh. Where's this "funemployment" that republicans keep talking about? That sounds better than REALITY.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:02:37 AM PST

    •  Ouch - sorry for your troubles, BB. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoiseBlue, crystal eyes, SaintC, ExStr8

      Hope you can find something soon.

      •  Thanks. There are jobs out there and I'm (5+ / 0-)

        applying like crazy, but, sadly, very few of them are in Boise and it looks like I may have to relocate.

        And I'll definitely have to take a paycut :/

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:07:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cold comfort, I know, but this story is... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BoiseBlue, navajo

          ...repeated in news reports and among people I know and in emails I get every time I post some jobs news. So, you definitely aren't alone. Not that saying so is soothing or pays the rent.

          The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:46:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I'm fortunate that my ex-employer (0+ / 0-)

            didn't just throw me out the door; I got a generous severance package, then another large bonus on my last day.

            So I ended up in a much better position than most people, and that keeps me from falling into too much self-pity. But still, it sucks.

            I'm personally much more concerned about the other people in my situation who have kids to feed. I'm still a teenager at heart so I'm just pretending I'm on vacation.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:53:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Really Sorry to Hear This (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoiseBlue, SpecialKinFlag

      I hope that you will keep us posted about this.

      When I was unemployed, I found stories from other people to be a big consolation. The media told me that I needed a better resume. Government told me to retrain for the jobs of the future.

      The only good advice I got was what I could eke out from people who were having the same experience under the current conditions.

      Good luck and stay strong.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:11:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        I have been thinking about a diary on it. I've known it was coming for a few months now; this is my third week and it's really starting to sink in. Yesterday I was nearly catatonic.

        When I knew it was coming I started listening to other people's stories as well. And I've stayed on a schedule so far which seems to keep the depression somewhat at bay.

        On the bright side, I took an afternoon nap yesterday for the first time in ages. That was nice.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:16:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Seasonally adjusted" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, Rich in PA

    What exactly does that mean?  I would think "seasonally adjusted" would take into account the loss of temporary jobs like package delivery, etc., related to the holidays.

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:03:48 AM PST

    •  Yes, that's what seasonally adjusted does... (5+ / 0-)

      ...at this time of year. The news here is that even with the adjustments the numbers went higher than expected. So, we'll see, in the next couple of weeks as fresh numbers are released if this is a fluke or if we're going to settle into higher initial claims numbers after a mostly downward trend over the past three months. See numbers for all of 2011 here.

      The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:19:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This was my issue last week... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah, rdw72777

        ...when people suggested, not entirely without reason, that I didn't understand what "seasonally adjusted" meant.  I suggested at that time that the hiring in excess of a seasonally-adjusted flatline likely reflected retailers' expectations of a more robust holiday season and therefore the need for more seasonal workers, something that "seasonally adjusted" wouldn't take into account.

        The significant jump could be an indication that temporary hiring of package delivery personnel and retail workers in December was larger than expected.

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:23:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One of my co-workers was seasonal UPS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PsychoSavannah

          And was let go prior to Xmas weekend. He was stunned: he had been doing double shifts somewhat regularly from a week before Thanksgiving up until Dec  22nd.

          Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

          by Egalitare on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:42:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually it makes sense. (0+ / 0-)

            Given that Christmas was a Sunday, pretty much all the presents should have arrived by Thursday the 22d.

            Since you describe your acquaintance as a co-worker, sounds like he landed on his feet, so there's a silver lining for him.

            •  He and I have been P/T employees... (0+ / 0-)

              ...in a school system for several years. I am underemployed somewhat by choice: my wife earns 6-figures and my more important job is as "Mr. Mom."

              My co-worker pieces together P/T jobs as seasonal coach and security guard in addition to our common employment. He just turned 30, has some college education (was a partial scholarship athlete at a Div II school before a severe knee injury ended that).

              UPS and Fed Ex normally keep many seasonal employees beyond Christmas Day because of returns and after Xmas orders. He knows 3 or 4 people he was working with who just ended their seasonal work this past weekend. He simply wasn't one of the handful that got to stay until the "expected" end.

              Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

              by Egalitare on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 08:11:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's what I thought. But this... (0+ / 0-)
        The significant jump could be an indication that temporary hiring of package delivery personnel and retail workers in December was larger than expected.

        ...would seem to belie that.  It sounds to me like maybe they're not seasonally adjusting enough!

        "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

        by Jon Stafford on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:36:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They never know exactly what's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, BoiseBlue

          going on until after the fact.

          Seasonal hiring is a basic fact of our economy, but in some years businesses will keep hires that they had originally meant to be temporary because business is good enough to support those jobs.  In other years, all of the employees at a store will be let go because the store did not perform well enough to survive.  I haven't been following the retail numbers closely this season so I don't know how well retail really did this year - like if we are going to see a lot of store closings; if we will see most hanging in there and staying open but with low levels of employees that they've had for the past few years; or if some are anticipating being busy enough in the coming months to keep some of the temporary hires.  We find that data out in the next few months.

  •  These stats are more important than the polls (0+ / 0-)

    Polls don't mean much at this stage, they only give us a very rudimentary picture about the race. Even though it is a huge cliche, it is also very true - if the economy keeps stalling and the recovery is weak and almost non-existent, Obama's chances are very slim no matter how flawed of a candidate Romney is.

    So-called independents don't know much about economics or politics in general. If things have sucked for four years, they're just gonna vote for the non-incumbent. Sad but true. These stats are key to Obama's re-election.

    •  Nah. Romney's whole business (6+ / 0-)

      philosophy is what has brought us to this place.  Worker bees don't have a place in that model and we need to calmly explain that to every person we can.  

      •  We understand that (4+ / 0-)

        but I don't know if the people who tune in four weeks before the election will get that. If the economy is still stalling, they will just think "let's give the other guys a chance". Unfortunately the election will be decided mostly by people who make their decisions based on gut feelings, not rigorous analysis.

        Romney has a lot of baggage. A lot. But without the economy improving, even that baggage may not be enough. Just saying. From our perspective Romney looks like a chump but even a chump can win if Obama can't run on improving the economy.

        •  Romney also has some very upbeat (0+ / 0-)

          "can do" language in his stump speech.  Regardless of whether or not Romney is credible - any more credible than the Republicans were in 2010 when they promised jobs and go a big win for their lies - the Democrats will have a tough battle.

          One hopes that the Democrats are smart enough to handle 2012 better than they did 2010.

          •  I don't think you (0+ / 0-)

            can compare Obama to Romney on the stump though...that's the last thing I'm worried about actually.

            •  We are not talking about points for style. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Meteor Blades

              We are talking about substance.

              Have you heard Romney's most recent stump speech that he rolled out after Iowa?  If you haven't, you should go read it.

              He hits Obama pretty hard on the austerity bullshit; and frankly has a winning strategy right there.

              And yes I know that it was Romney and his other 1% buddies who convinced the White House that austerity - getting Americans to accept less than what they've become accustomed to having in terms or wealth and opportunity - was the thing to do, but that doesn't matter because they did all that in those back room talks and Obama's team was fool enough to send him out there to carry their message - a message that they have smartly chosen to attack him for delivering.

              All is not lost, but Obama is going to have to work hard to reclaim his mantle of "hope" if he wants to win this election - and that won't happen with happy talk about green shoots or Wall Street quarterly earnings that mean little to Main Street folks - that is going to have to come with much bolder and harder hitting analysis of the problems and good ideas about how we overcome them.

              •  Hitting Obama for Austerity? (0+ / 0-)

                Romney is the one who is talking austerity! He says he wants to cut government spending and all that. I really don't think that's a winning strategy to hit someone for austerity if you're the one advocating it. He says he wants to cut federal workers, blah blah blah. I really would like to know what you're talking about with Romney criticizing Romney for austerity. If you could provide some quotes. I'm not going to go look at his speech because I detest the guy.

                Also in regards to substance, who do you think has a better substance honestly? Obama talking about people paying their fair share or Romney saying that people who attack rich people for gutting jobs and sending them overseas are just "envious." To me, that's a no brainer. Also, the saving grace Obama has is with Hispanics. Romney is an idiot to embrace the anti immigration nonsense, and also, his recent embrace of the endorsement by the architect of the anti immigration bills.

        •  The economy is def improving (0+ / 0-)

          though, even if it is slow. We'll see what happens in the next few months. What we don't want is to be going in the wrong direction. I think as long as the unemployment rate is around 8% and trending down, and doing so for at least a few months, I think we should be fine. People aren't as stupid as you think. Most people I talk  to realize Obama has come far from 2008.

    •  Nah, as the other reply says :) n/t (0+ / 0-)

      But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:24:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you look at the chart ... (7+ / 0-)

    UE spiked Jan '10,Jan '11 and Jan '12....but the overall trend shows UE is getting better...still not out of the woods though.

    Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

    by jiffypop on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:10:43 AM PST

    •  I was gonna say, that 'spike' really isn't that (6+ / 0-)

      far off the trend line, and many of the spikes along the trend line are of the same amplitude.

      It's not great, but keep our fingers cross it drops back down again as quickly as past spikes.

      •  If you look at recent ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        navajo

        ...change in the first week of January over the average of the previous four weeks, the data look like this:

        2008: 347,000 (average) vs. 350,000 (in first week)
        2009: 543,750 vs. 543,000
        2010: 475,000 vs. 468,000
        2011: 418,000 vs. 437,000

        So, last year and this year there have been spikes, but in the three previous years, there haven't been.

        The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:36:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well we're closer to (0+ / 0-)

          the 2008 average than the 2009 average.

          but in the three previous years, there haven't been.

          What about the previous 6 years?

          Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

          by jiffypop on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:50:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wasn't looking specifically within the context (0+ / 0-)

          of the point in the year, but merely at the jaggedness overall.

          Still, it's one of those things where we don't have a lot of data to show if it's simply some weird artifact, or something that's going to continue year after year from here on out.  If it happens again next year and the year after, I might start looking for a specific shift in the type of holiday employment.

        •  Which is weird (0+ / 0-)

          because 2011 and perhaps 2012, will be the best year for hiring.

        •  There WAS a spike in January 2010. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Supavash

          You can see it on the chart quite clearly: there is a large spike in early January - it just showed up in Week 2 instead of Week 1.

          It's just about the same size at those in Jan 2011 and Jan 2012.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:37:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you could say the spike didn't show... (3+ / 0-)

            ...up until the last week of January 2010 as well, since it hit the same number (seasonally adjusted) twice that month.

            Here's the thing, seven of the nine weeks of 2011 starting in February were below 400,000. Then they spiked up again and stayed above that level (well above many weeks) except for two slight drops into the 390s until November, when they started showing what we see now. In the past nine weeks, eight have been below 400,000. So, we're back where we were in February, a year ago. The question is whether this time it will stick. There are economic data that say this is likely, and other data that say not so likely.

            The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

            by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:52:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It would have stuck last year, but for... (0+ / 0-)

              the oil price spike from Arab Spring and then the budget ceiling debate.

              I think the actual motor of the economy started to hum almost a year ago.  If nothing happens to put on the brakes, we should start to pick up speed.

              Here's hoping for a boring 2012.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 10:34:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And Fukushima. But there's always something... (0+ / 0-)

                ...This year Eurozone problems, benchmark oil prices are right now pushing $103/bbl, the highest since June, and tensions with Iran could spike them some more. Economic predictions are all about "if nothing happens." But something always happens. Could be good. Could be bad. The problem is, if  you go back to this time in 2011 and 2010, it's the same kind of talk: Things are looking better and now the economy will be taking off.

                Could be. Eventually, presumably, such a prediction will be true if it is made often enough.

                The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

                by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:11:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Makes one wonder what (0+ / 0-)

      "seasonally adjusted" really means.

      •  It means that it is anticipated that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BoiseBlue, Meteor Blades

        employment will get a boost around the holiday season because temporary workers are brought on to handle the retail and delivery traffic - so they factor in those workers whose jobs are likely to be eliminated after the holiday rush.  It is why getting excited about employment spikes at the holidays makes little sense until you get to the other side and see how many businesses decided to retain or let employees go in the January/February timeframe.

      •  It means that they're shooting as a moving target. (0+ / 0-)

        Every December, there is an increase in hiring, and they do their best to figure out how much of it is seasonal employment and how much is permanent.

        The ratios are different every year, and their estimates aren't always precise.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:39:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Which suggests that "seasonal adjustment"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...is very much a work in progress, methodologically.

      But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:25:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  but i'm sure the right-wing noise machine... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Juliann

    will be reluctant to place the blame for this on anyone.(just as they're slow to credit anyone for good employment news!)

    "Fuck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money." –Charlie Pierce

    by mellowjohn on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:15:21 AM PST

  •  just mucking along (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoiseBlue

    we should of seen a huge spike in hiring awhile a go, if indeed the jobs were coming back, I just dont think they are.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:19:57 AM PST

    •  The jobs went to Asia and Mexico, etc., etc. (0+ / 0-)

       Corporate America  needs to realize that once you move to another country, you're no longer recognized as a U.S. company by American consumers.  

      We desperately need a "Made In America" store that will compete with all the junk that's made elsewhere.  Corporate America has to get this message, so please don't buy things made elsewhere.  Always ask for made in America things, even if you know they don't sell them.  

  •  Until we fundamentally restructure the global... (4+ / 0-)

    ...economy, 99% of us are going to remain without a "complete jobs recovery."

    The world's production capacity is large enough to feed every human being, cloth every human being, shelter every human being, educate every human being.

    Yet millions go hungry, cold, homeless and ignorant.

    Capitalism provided the means to achieve this production capacity.  It is wholly inadequate to allocate the results.

    It is time for something new.

    The bear and the rabbit will never agree on how dangerous a dog is.

    by fromer on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:21:06 AM PST

    •  America is in the 1% when looking at the (0+ / 0-)

      "global economy".

      When you think of all of the countries on earth in terms of  classes, the "income gap" between the richest and poorest is shrinking, as opposed to the exact opposite when you look at just the USA.

      Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

      Good for the lower and middle class countries, bad for the 1%.

  •  The downsizing of our armed forces (6+ / 0-)

    is going to impact unemployment numbers.
    Our infrastructure needs rebuilding and our returning troops will need jobs.
    Public works projects and vocational retraining opportunities should be paid for by the wealthy and powerful.  

    It's time for some down home socialism.

    We need the conversation to change to "I like to hire people".

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 06:23:51 AM PST

  •  I'm not an economist or a statistician (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julia Grey

    but when my son graduated from high school in 2008, competition for college admissions was at an all time high due to a baby boom in the late 80's, early 90's. Those kids are now graduating from college and entering the workforce. Sucks to be them - hardest time getting accepted to the college of their choice and now competing for jobs when there are none. Not to mention student loans...

  •  I got reamed the other day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic

    for being very suspicious of the "happy talk" about the economy. To me, optimism about the economy is like playing polka music on the Titanic. It is cheerful, bouncy music to work up a sweat, so you'll last an extra minute when you sink into your icy grave.

    People really do not understand how badly broken the economy is. They also do not understand that all these "austerity" programs are like cutting off blood transfusions to a patient with a severed artery.

    •  Too much greed everywhere. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic

      You can especially see it in the face of Mitt Romney.    

      President Obama is  far superior to this corporate creation.

    •  Actually, a lot of people do understand (5+ / 0-)

      how tough this economy is which is why the Democrats need to be really careful about the happy talk.  If they act like all is well when people are living a nightmare, they will lose in 2012 for the sole reason that people will think that if they can't recognize the problem, they definitely won't be able to address it.

      •  Thank you. A message I've been trying to ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        inclusiveheart, Onomastic

        ...deliver for the past 3 1/2 years.

        The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:12:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You can't be too pessimistic either though (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic

        You can't be like "Oh the economy sucks and we don't know how to make it better!" That's not a winning message.

        •  You can say that the economy sucks (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, Onomastic

          and you do know how to make it better - and that's not a lie - we do actually know that there are things that can be done that are not being done that would improve the overall economy for regular folks.

          Romney is saying all of that - he's a fucking liar and won't deliver - but he is saying it and that is what people want to hear from their Presidential candidates in a time of economic hardship.

          •  Obama's saying the same thing though (0+ / 0-)

            He isn't the economy is great but it's definitely better than we he took office. His speech in Kansas made a lot of sense. He needs more govn't spending, among other things, to get it going. He also has evidence on his side. We tried the GOP policies for 8 years with the tax cuts. They didn't work. Why go back to the same failed policies?

            •  Did you see his "in-shoring" jobs plan (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Julia Grey

              yesterday?  Tax incentives.

              You know what i would do right now if I were he?

              I would roll out an call for the House to raise Social Security payments immediately.  I would put Boehner and the rest on the spot and make them give senior citizens a raise.  Even if and maybe especially if he was not successful in getting Congress to give senior citizens a raise, he would win voters.  I would demand that the pay raise be funded by raising the cap on SSI.

              Then I would demand massive funding for infrastructure with assurances that the dollars spent would be allocated to American companies and Small Businesses especially.

              Then I would demand that Congress fund programs to get the returning veterans full employment - I might use the Postal Service as part of this plan.

              •  I think all of that (0+ / 0-)

                will come in the next few months, hopefully. He's been hinting at raising the cap on SSI. I think that's the only way to make sure it remains solvent. The infrastructure spending is also key. He is the only candidate talking about it and its a real winning message.

                •  Actually, everything on that list makes (0+ / 0-)

                  him vulnerable to being called a socialist, but I think that the rewards would outweigh the risks if they played it correctly.

                  In any case, there are other things that he could do that would be driven by "free enterprise", but none would have the quick impact that a raise on social security would.

                  One thing though is that he doesn't have much time.  They probably should have started this fight last Fall.  They have to challenge this Congress quickly and unrelentingly in this first quarter if they are to be taken seriously and penetrate the media din to impress voters.

            •  They didn't? They're still in force, and the (0+ / 0-)

              economy is beginning to improve.

  •  You can see the same thing in the past 2 Dec/Jans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julia Grey

    The same pattern is found at the same time of year all three times on this chart: There is a trend line running from September to December, and then a brief dip steeper than the trend in December, and a spike back to just above where the trend would have put the number.

    Based on what happens on that chart in early 2010 and again in early 2011, I predict that one-week numbers will poke back up just over 400,000 for a couple of weeks, and then start falling back at roughly the same rate they were falling from September-December.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 07:33:09 AM PST

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