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(Calculated Risk)
After months of falling, first time claims for unemployment benefits have been on the rise for three consecutive weeks and are now running higher than at any time since the first week of January. For the week that ended April 21, seasonally adjusted initial claims hit 388,000, the Department of Labor said Thursday. That's a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 389,000. But it's an increase of 2,000 from the originally reported number of 386,000. And the four-week moving average, which flattens out volatility in the weekly numbers, rose to 381,750, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500.

Counting the federal emergency extensions that give workers in states with the highest unemployment up to 99 weeks of benefits, the total number of people making claims in all programs for the week ending April 7 was 6,677,959, a decrease of 87,160 from the previous week.

Improvements in the overall unemployment picture and reductions in the time the government will provide benefits as part of a congressional bargain over the payroll tax cut means that the number of people collecting benefits will fall sharply over the next few months. By September, the maximum duration of benefits will be 63 weeks instead of 99. For instance, some 100,000 Californians will see their benefits cease by the end of next month as the federal program cuts available benefits from 99 to 79 weeks.

The reading was the latest example of fizzling momentum in the labor market recovery. [...]

"We seem to be chasing our tail with the labor market now with seemingly reported declines in weekly numbers coming from persistently higher levels week-after-week," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economist strategist at Miller Tabak in New York. "Today’s reading also gives the uncomfortable drift upwards in initial claims the feel of a trend rather than aberration."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 05:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 05:59:53 AM PDT

  •  Layoffs are no longer the big problem (15+ / 0-)

    The lack of jobs is a bigger problem.
    The lack of decent paying jobs is the biggest problem.

    “Take not from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” - President Thomas Jefferson

    by gjohnsit on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:08:14 AM PDT

  •  Manipulated numbers. (4+ / 0-)

    The BLS continues to manipulate the numbers. This has become ridiculous.

    For the tenth week in a row the number from the prior week was revised higher. TENTH week in a row and 16th out of last 18. Not quite a random walk.

    So why does it matter? Because of how the headlines are made.

    Last week the initial read was 386,000

    This week the initial read is 388,000

    So the headline should read. Claims RISE by 2,000

    BUT the BLS revised last week to 389,000

    So the headline reads Claims FELL by 1,000.

    This is no fluke. It happens almost every week and is typical of how the BLS has been massaging numbers of late. Take every number with a grain of salt.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:18:24 AM PDT

    •  are we still doing this? (3+ / 0-)

      revisions are not manipulation. they are exactly what they apear to be, revisions made as the estimate is clarified with additional data. and they occur in both directions.

      not that any of this should be surprsing. its only come up every single time somebody on DKOS doesn't like the daily number or the subequent revision.

      •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MrBigDaddy

        there is random variation and there is consistent bias. It is either manipulation or a consistent error in their data.

        Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

        by taonow on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:38:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  These revisions are bull though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oldhippie

        How can they make the mistake in the same direction every time?  These numbers are crafted specifically to blunt the headline.  To ignore the obvious is to ignore reality.  If I flip a coin and it lands on heads 14 out of fifteen times, I am probably cheating somehow.  This is Orwellian and those of us that are unemployed deserve to know the truth.

        •  no mistake (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smartdemmg

          accumulation of additional data which when processed results in revisions either up or down of the original number.

          that you don't like the resulting number is beside the point.

          and what is this ever time crap? when the labor market started show improvement earlier this year similar revisions were made that supported an improving picture.

          now we have a picture of stabilization around a not particularly good and not particulary bad number. it is what it is.

        •  BLS has always made revisions to unemployment, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          singlemom2012, TexasTom

          and, in the light of a trend, there is no reason why those revisions shouldn't be in a consistent direction, but...

          there's a different question here.

          Why are people comparing unrevised numbers to revised numbers?  It creates a situation where you can have a steadily upward trend, but report a steady downward trend.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:44:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hi singlemom (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          singlemom2012

          Your logic is impeccable. You just can't sell logic here. This place is about faith. Intermittently it remains a source of information. And you can always come here to get a read on what the faith-based are telling themselves today.

          •  I just joined (0+ / 0-)

            but am finding this to be a pretty rough place.  Getting called a troll for pointing out the obvious is pretty annoying.  Getting called a fifty year old white male republican is just plain weird.

            •  You will find (0+ / 0-)

              that there are diaries reserved to different cliques. If you want open-minded open-ended discussion with intelligent informed commenters you will be disappointed most of the time.

              It is widely known that this site is observed and stalked by professional trolls. It is way too big a forum for admins to control them. The accusations fly.

              •  A troll imo (0+ / 0-)

                singlemom2012 already  has made his/her point.

                All of her/his comments are giving grief to progressives......Not a single comment in support of progressive views.

                The giveaway for me was the use of the word "book" on anbother thread to mean to walk away, etc, a catch phrase from the 70s.  Perhaps a single mom would use such a phrase, but not likely.

                And the overly aggressvie and hostile competitiveness does not suggest a progressive, single mom.

                Plus, Romney just secured the nomination, and everyone knows that aht progressives' advantage is GOTV volunteers, and any number of trolls will try to depress that activity.

                I could be wrong but this is consistent with a troll pattern that I have seen over the years.

                •  You're watching much closer than I am. (0+ / 0-)

                  And you could be right.

                  What I see happening is she makes a fairly good case, but it's a case which is observed to also be made by libertarians, paultards, and other clowns. Which doesn't mean it's wrong. It does mean anyone who makes those observations and exercises that logic is highly suspect around here.

                  I don't see any conspiracies at BLS. They have old models. It's bureaucratically and politically implausible to change the models. They have to kick the tires a few times and shoot ether into the carburetor to get any numbers out the other end. Since they have to fiddle with all the dials to get it to work why not fiddle until you get something that makes the boss happy. Since anything they do will set off one constituency or another play to the one constituency that most matters in terms of making your job bearable day to day. I would not want to be a statistician at BLS. I am surprised they are still taken seriously.

                  If singlemom made all the same points in some other diaries it would pass without notice.  If she were more tuned in to this place she wouldn't even attempt this play in a Meteor Blades diary. She at least comes across to me as someone curious and unemployed looking for conversation.

                  And until you have a pretty solid case she's a troll using that word is out of bounds. As is doubting her gender.

                  •  Trolls come here all the time (0+ / 0-)

                    Effective disclosure avoids wasting time on someone who is here to disupt.

                    As I have said, I could be wrong, but notice Mom did not deny my assertions or even attempt to explain them.

                    •  Your title line is correct (0+ / 0-)

                      And then some.
                      When someone says something that's just out of place or maybe somewhat unfamiliar to you or that seems (seems) to echo Repub talking points it's not yet trollery. If you try hard enough you can hear that echo in all sorts of plain simple observations.
                      Maybe she didn't deny because she really is a single mom and she had to go back to the kid. She's new and admits it.  She could be anyone and anything.
                      You'll know soon enough.

                      Anyone who's out of work who's been hit hard by this economy who listens to Dem cheerleading thinks the Democratic Party is just out to lunch. And not even trying to talk to them. A lot of the initial hooks the other side uses are pretty damn good. Of course if you follow it a minute or two it's madness over there. But the Repubs talk to them and we just demean them as trolls or rednecks or Randians or whatever. They're people.

    •  You're right, but they understand what they're (0+ / 0-)

      doing is skewing the numbers:  they do as they're directed.  The fudging is at the direction of the administration.  I doubt if any administration has allowed the release of unvarnished employment numbers.  Or CPI numbers.  Or any reports that would cast a shadow.  Full reading rights requires subscription, but http://www.shadowstats.com/ is the place for real numbers.

      Those who forget the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

      by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:33:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shadowstats is garbage. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, GOPGO2H3LL

        Here is Williams admitting that his "stats" are garbage and have no basis in actual economic functions or statistics:

        Williams draws his estimate of a 7 percentage-point bias per year in part from this paper, he said in a phone interview.
        “It’s a simple approach to it,” he said. A complete reconstruction would be “the type of thing that takes extraordinary time and computing ability, which I don’t have the resources to support.
        From:  Bloomberg on conspiracy theories

        In other words, he has no understanding of statistics and chooses not to educate himself.

        •  We disagree. (0+ / 0-)

          Those who forget the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

          by CarolinNJ on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:58:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I actually subscribed to Shadowstats... (0+ / 0-)

            ...for six months (which I couldn't really afford) because of the hoopla around Williams's take. SilverOz is correct.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:09:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What we don't disagree on (0+ / 0-)

            is that you just got PWN3D.

            Obama is at war with radical anti-American terrorists. The radical GOP is at war with American women. Take that and run with it DNC, you inept fucking pikers.

            by GOPGO2H3LL on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:28:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So what... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that's the same response that conservatives make about global warming: "We disagree".

            Whether it's environmental science or junk economic statistics, I see no reason to take the junk seriously.  So, yeah, in this case you disagree with SilverOz, but that doesn't change the fact that in this instance he is right and you are wrong.

            (And I've disagreed with SilverOz in the past -- but in this case, he's right about the conspriacy theories and junk stats offered up by Shadowstats.)

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:21:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Can you explain why the revisions only (0+ / 0-)

          go in one direction?  Why the headlines always compare the just released numbers to the previous week's revised numbers, thus allowing the false headlines?  Try to keep a straight face.

          •  So, the administration is gaming these numbers (0+ / 0-)

            to look "better" by about 3k/week (and the initial jobless claims number is a fairly insignificant data point), but "letting" the BLS publish much lower job creation numbers (a much more reported and watched series) each month and revising those up later when no one notices.  Essentially every month in the last year job creation has been revised up, sometimes by huge amounts, but the administration is fine getting all those "weak" headlines for job creation and instead is focusing on getting a 3k better reading on initial jobless claims.  Color me unconvinced.

            •  "Essentially every month in the last year job (0+ / 0-)

              creation has been revised up, sometimes by huge amounts"

              You are not helping your argument.

              •  My point is that (0+ / 0-)

                you are saying we are manipulating the numbers to make the headlines better, and I am saying that in the case of the most watched and most reported economic number reported each month (ie the Employment Situation Report), the BLS as UNDERESTIMATED job creation (ie the headlines are worse than the final numbers).  All this is showing is that the formulas all have their flaws (as one should expect trying to get exact changes out of a labor force of 150 million people in "real time"), but that these flaws do not equal manipulation.

        •  and the BLS numbers arent? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          singlemom2012

          you got to be kidding me, the BLS MaKES up numbres, the entire Birth-death model is basically nothing but a guestimate.  A poor one at that since the environment we are currently in has no relations to ones of the past.

          So spare me the "garbage" talk.  BLS has enough garbage in garbage out data already.

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:06:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You must be right (0+ / 0-)

            Now, can you please publish your methodology like the BLS does.  Please note, that while the birth/death adjustment isn't perfect, it is necessary or the annual benchmark revisions would be even larger than they already are.  Last year the BLS UNDERESTIMATED job growth (and yes that includes the b/d adjustment) by 162,000 jobs, had they not had a b/d adjustment, that revision would have been even larger.  

            Unfortunately, while the BLS publishes all of their methodologies (and all the raw data), they cannot teach simple stats to people like you who view anything you cannot understand as garbage.

    •  Are revisions normally 50/50 in direction? (0+ / 0-)

      Over a longer period of time, not just the last 20 weeks but over the last 4 years, 8 years etc, are revisions more often in one direction rather than the other or is it usually a 50/50 thing.  I would imagine that revisions would normally go in an upward direction.  first time claims are a very specific statistic and I would think the numbers would likely have to be reported by the states.  It's probably much easier IMHO for a number to arrive after the reporting (even if it's just a few hours) than for a clerical error to overstate the figure.  

      It's worth looking into but one would have to look at a much longer period of time to know if the past 20 weeks of understatements are abnormal or whether we simply tend not to notice revisions that amount to 1/2 of 1%. I am personally hyper aware of these numbers because we are in an election year and they are dancing so perilously around the 375,000 figure that is considered the number for self-sustaining job growth.  

    •  1984 was a warning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      singlemom2012

      The number massagers seem to think it was an instruction manual or a blueprint.

      I miss Kurt Vonnegut so damn much these days

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:24:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What we need is austerity (7+ / 0-)

    to return us to recession.

    What we're seeing is the effects of the stimulus wearing off and the effects of Republican slashing at the state level taking hold. More austerity will end the uncertainty and push us back in to the hole that Bush and Cheney dug for us by unfunded wars and lack of investment in Americans.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 06:19:34 AM PDT

  •  Millions of families are hurting, buy yay, (4+ / 0-)

    we got a payroll tax cut!!!!!!!!! Meh.

    6,677,959
  •  Barney Frank on Spitzer last night (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, mightymouse, GOPGO2H3LL

    Barney Frank made an excellent comment on Spitzer last night.  He talked about the blame spiral the Democrats are in.  The Dems are left with all these huge problems the Republicans made, and the public starts blaming the Dems for the cause of the problems.

    When all these people start losing unemployment benefits, my guess is that high percentage will blame whoever the president is and the party the president belongs to.

    Unfortunately, we have a public who expects these ENORMOUS problems to be fixed well within the election terms of the politicians, or they'll toss them out and give the very people who caused the problems a chance to make them even worse.

    This uninformed public problem may be the worst problem of all.

  •  I wouldn't call this number elevated or weak (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOPGO2H3LL

    We spent most of the 1980's job boom in a jobless claims range of 360k-400k and that was with a much smaller covered population.  We can definitely create jobs at these levels (and have recently).

    •  Everyone else does though. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson

      At this rate when do we get back to pre-2008 employment numbers?

      •  Atlanta Fed Rides to the Rescue (0+ / 0-)

        Take a look at this Jobs Calculator site the Atlanta Fed maintains.  It lets the analyst play with all sorts of numbers which go into the labor market analysis.

        For example, if one assumes that a 5.0% unemployment rate represents a long-term norm and that the US population continues to grow and the labor market participation stays at current rates, then it will take six years of non-farm payroll at a 165K monthly rate to reach the 5.0% level.  We really only started to peak over the 120K threshold toward the end of last year, so even that anemic 165K monthly number appears to be a stretch.  If one wants to look into the abyss and play "what if," one could examine a scenario in which the average monthly NFP job creation bumps along at that 120K per month rate.  That assumption, using the Atlanta Fed's calculator, would mean that it takes 19 years to recover to a 5.0% unemployment rate, everything else staying at current rates.  Let's not even discuss the fact that the labor market participation rate has collapsed to levels not seen since before the 1980s, when only one income could support a decent life style for most families.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:22:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  oh please (0+ / 0-)

      what a lousy arguement. There is no coorelation between this number and jobs created. IN the clinton years when we were booming we were creating a helluva lot more jobs than 120k crappy low wages wal mart greeter jobs.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:11:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As they say: denial is a river in Egypt.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, oldhippie

    When the patient needs brain surgery, a bandaid won't do the trick.   Regardless of affiliation, the entire planet has a lot of work ahead of it, and seectively ignoring it or perhaps more half assed measures isn't going to do it.

    It was especially depressing watching Bernanke's press conference yesterday, and all the softball questions being thrown his way.   It seems somewhere along the way, that tough questions being asked, are now.....just rude.....oy vey.....even though you know the person is a moron, and needs to be called out.

    Bernanke, like Obama cleaning up after Bush, is cleaning up after the worst central banker ever: Alan Greenspan.  Bernanke, by punishing us savers with incredibly low interest rates, like tax increases, and austerity measures, TAKES money out of the economy.  Simple Econ 101.  Shees.  Hurting the economy to prop up "zombie banks" that need to go under.

    Sort of like the "zombie nations" that need to default.  And the newest member of the "zombie" lexicon, the "zombie consumer"....people who are just never going to get out of debt because most of it (especially student loans) is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

     And when it will be routinely acknowleged that housing is NEVER coming back.  Tired of all the shrill of saying that "housing is the key to recovery".   It was the very problem that got us in this mess.......

  •  This sucks (0+ / 0-)

    If things get worse or even stay about the same, Obama is toast.

  •  Can we get a new (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    ..New Deal before more people just give up and stop trying any more?

    Please?

    It's not as if there isn't enough shit that needs fixing and building in our little shining city on the hill.

    I miss Kurt Vonnegut so damn much these days

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:20:06 AM PDT

  •  Thanks again for staying on this issue. (0+ / 0-)

    The depression we "avoided" continues on for soooo many people.

    At the very least, this should get the attention of Democratic strategists who really ought to take their noses out of the charts and consider that there are enough actual under and unemployed voters (and spouses and brothers/sisters/mothers/fathers/children) to make a difference in the upcoming elections.  Thing about those folks is they don't have to mess with any of the BLS measures, whether U3, U6, or U go home and leave me alone.  They have a very personal measure : Can I take care of myself and those who depend on me?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

    •  To get the right treatment, you have to know (0+ / 0-)

      the symptoms.  Lying to the doctor  is only going to get you more sick.

      •  Hmmm. Not getting paychecks for a long time (0+ / 0-)

        is a pretty easy symptom to diagnose: it generally means you don't have a job.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:29:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lol (0+ / 0-)

          I'm talking about the bigger picture.   If people realize just how bad the economy is(and they don't because of the fudging of numbers), they will be more open to Obama coming out with some brand new blockbuster jobs program.

          •  If he came out with some blockbuster jobs (0+ / 0-)

            program, we'd have something to talk about.

            That's the problem -- in three years+ time, including 2 years when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, jobless folk have been routinely ignored.

            That's not a way to convince people you're on their side.

            I think back to the 2010 elections, and Republicans making tons of noise about Democrats allowing middle class tax cuts to expire.  Democrats said they wouldn't do it, but took no action before the election.

            I don't think that was very helpful.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:41:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well...how bout a little Austerity? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GOPGO2H3LL

    The U.K. austerity is certainly working, isn't it?  Er...maybe not.

    The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.

    by Agent Orange on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:20:07 AM PDT

    •  Working for Whom? (0+ / 0-)

      Hey, a deflationary economy is great for the financial overlords.  From that perspective, the Tories' prescription for what ails the UK's economy is working just fine.  I'm waiting to see if Cameron needs to run in an election before Obama this fall, which just might be the case.  The 2Q2012 economic numbers should have the Lib Dem backbenchers bolting for the exits this summer, which just might force an early election for Cameron.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:26:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Throwing good money after bad.... (0+ / 0-)

      Millionares and corporations are paying 14% federal income taxes while they ship jobs overseas and the deficit just goes higher.......

      WHERE ARE THE JOBS...?????

      and Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney want to double down..!!!!

      Take away from unemployment benefits, Medicare, and Social Security to give  FURTHER tax breaks......

      Meanwhile, England is in recession, France is turning to Socialism, and Ireland is deep in debt due to their low taxes....

  •  Good grief, I feel a surge of panic adrenaline (0+ / 0-)

    when I read shit like this.

  •  TOO BUSY TO HIRE....!?!?!?!?!? (0+ / 0-)

    Record earnings and no hiring.......

    The only way companies are going to start hiring is when some of the employees who are working 50-60 hours a week either start demanding more money, retire, or drop dead....!!!!

    The problem is that these employees are scared of losing their jobs so they oblige, thus enabling the conservative "economic slavery" model to persist.......

  •  yeah guys and i remember when.. (0+ / 0-)

    In August,2011 it was stated we added no jobs whatsoever buy whoa and behold a month later it was revised upward to about 100,000-140,000 jobs were added that month.

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