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Chart showing first-time unemployment claims for week ending July 28.
For the week ending July 28, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 365,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 357,000, originally reported as 353,000. First-time claims in the comparable week last year were 402,000.

The numbers will not affect Friday's job growth survey because they fall outside the data-reporting period the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses each month.

The roller-coaster effect of the past few weeks, which skewed numbers so much that it was difficult to known what they meant in terms of the job market's future, will not show up in next week's report for the first in a month:

Temporary plant shutdowns by automakers for annual retooling cause wide swings in claims data in July, which makes it difficult to get a clear picture of the labor market's health.

The model used by the government to smooth the numbers for typical seasonal patterns has trouble anticipating the timing of the temporary closures and in addition, some automakers kept production lines running in July.

The four-week moving average, which analysts prefer because it flattens volatility in the weekly figure, was 365,500, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 368,250.

For the week ending July 14, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, including the federal program of extended benefits, was 5,964,553, a decrease of 69,672 from the previous week.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rennert

    Another good report, keep em coming till November!

    •  i don't understand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, wsexson

      ...these reports don't make sense to me.

      how is a rise in initial unemployment claims good news?

      "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war." -Mark Twain

      by humanistique on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See one "silver lining" below..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ericlewis0

        The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

        by captainlaser on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:03:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's only a rise from (0+ / 0-)

        last week's very low 357k to 365k. Anything below 400k implies job creation. Below 370k implies stronger job creation. This week's 365k is among the very lowest since the end of the recession.

        So, yes, it was a slight rise from last week but less of a rise than was expected and still quite a low number, relatively.

        I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

        by rennert on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 09:44:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Question about this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          no way lack of brain

          People were saying to be cautious about getting excited about July numbers because of the Auto industry fluctuations. How long does that last? Can we trust August numbers better or should we expect these numbers to skyrocket next week?

          Interested in learning about math, probability, or Computer Science and their connections to the real world? Learn more at my site: http://www.learninglover.com, or visit me on Twitter: @MindAfterMath

          by LEARNINGlover on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:07:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Last week's numbers discussed in this post... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            no way lack of brain

            ...should be the last skewed by seasonal adjustments for auto industry shut downs that usual happen in July but didn't happen this year or happened over a shorter time period. Next week's numbers should, therefore, provide us a better idea of what is actually going on.

            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 Aug 02, 2012 at 08:33:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When did 357K become a very low number? (0+ / 0-)

          It's certainly a lot than the numbers were a few years ago, but worse than the numbers through most of the Bush Presidency, and that wasn't exactly noted for its high employment.

          I'm looking for some numbers from the Clinton years, which is the last time we had full employment, but no luck yet...

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

          by dinotrac on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:23:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've noted elsewhere in this thread... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wsexson, dinotrac

            ...the numbers for Clinton's best years ('99-'00): about 290,000 on average. But if you want the whole shebang, you can find them here.

            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 Aug 02, 2012 at 08:35:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you! And a couple of thoughts... (0+ / 0-)

              Wow, talk about the good old days.
              A number of months below 250K, even a few below 225K.
              That really puts into perspective a claim that 357K is a "really good" number.  It's a really not that bad number, not a really good number.

              Which raises some questions in my mind:

              Do the numbers mean the same thing when the economy is so different from what we were used to considering normal?

              We see that the standard unemployment rate is much less indicative of real unemployment because so many people have been out of work so long and so many have given up on the job market.

              We see stock market indices lose some of their meaning because share volume has dropped significantly, meaning that swings in value represent much less total wealth than  before.

              So what about first time claims?

              Looking back on the Clinton years, I remember a very vibrant economy which included the excitement of the internet bubble.  The thing about vibrant economies is that they are very dynamic: people start companies and companies fail.  New unemployment claims are an expected result of that activity, but the impact would not be so high because people could find jobs quickly.

              What is the right way to compare numbers when the time to find work is longer --- or, for some, infinite?

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

              by dinotrac on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 06:05:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This chart has the numbers (0+ / 0-)

            back to the 70s.

            Here's the chart.

            Most of the Clinton years hovered from 300k to the mid 300ks. It briefly dipped below 300k at the end of his 2nd term.

            I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

            by rennert on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 08:46:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well I sure haven't heard it stated this way. All (0+ / 0-)

          I have heard is a rise in unemployment claims.... blah blah blah.

  •  Again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian Reifowitz, rennert, Kinak

    What many seem to be ignoring is plants not shutting down earlier is GREAT jobs news. DUH

  •  This is pretty good. (8+ / 0-)

    Now three of the last four were very good reports, so maybe the one from 14 days ago is the outlier of the three. That's what the 4 week moving average is for, I guess. If the July monthly numbers are good, and the August numbers are better, that would be terrific. And yes, I realize that's a master of the obvious statement. Please forgive me.

  •  Noise, nothing to see here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, The Hamlet

    Unfortunately, these numbers are so noisy, even with the MA smoothing, and especially this time of year, it's really hard to get any useful info about the general economy.

    When these numbers do start to move, there's usually some better indicators also moving.  The strange world of economics.

  •  Seasonal adjusting (6+ / 0-)

    doesn't seem to be handling the new normal (spring-like February, changing shopping patterns) very well.

    Given productivity vs. demand, it seems to me that we might soon want to entertain the notion of a 36-hour work week, off-setting that 10% hour drop off with a pay increase...and then increase the number of workers 10% to fill in the production.

    Also, it would be nice to see stronger laws AGAINST uncompensated overtime. I was involved in teh computer game industry for the last few years and these companies wring their workers out - 12-14 hour days without compensation, lost PTO because of crunch that is never actually recovered, etc.

    I'm sure that's hardly limited to that particular industry. If efficiency in inventory and production, robotics and the like are making it easier to produce the consumable goods and services, shouldn't the WORKERS get the benefits?

    We need more unions.

    Sorry for the off-topic rant.

    •  OT but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RASalvatore

      KoA was awesome, thanks for the enjoyment that brought to me.  After coming home working my ass off in my 12hr shift in a burn unit, it was nice to have something as wonderful as KoA to relax too.

      When I was a software engineer, BTW, I didn't get paid overtime either.  This link explains why:

      http://www.scalaw.com/...

    •  i also worked at one point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kinak

      16 - 18hr days 7 days a week for nearly three months as a software engineer, which, when the project finished, promptly pushed me over the edge right into nursing school.

    •  You're absolutely right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheGreatLeapForward

      My day job is technical support and we ran into some similar problems: cramming more and more work into the eight hours allotted, the company keeping wages down while they were making record profits, and generally miserable treatment.

      There was a serious talk a year or so ago of unionizing. It would have been extremely scary, with union-busting  coming down the pipe if we moved on it and no obvious support. Eventually, management caved on most of the demands, so it was an victory for labor organizing in any case.

      I think one of the big things that IT unions will need is some sort of umbrella organization, whether that fall under the SEIU or IWW or a new organization or whomever. Once knowledge of that is out there and people know that they have an organization they can trust, then the fights can really start.

  •  GOPers continue sabotaging the economy! (5+ / 0-)

    GOP House votes to repeal Obamacare - 33
    GOP House votes to name Post Offices - 60
    GOP House votes for American Jobs Act - 0

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 06:57:28 AM PDT

    •  Sabotage and lie (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM

      House Repugs  bill title for tax cuts for rich:

      "The Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012"

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:09:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How those votes haven't become an issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM

      in this election is beyond me. Do the Democrats even want to take back the House? Even the senate minority leader said defeating the President is more important to him than jobs!

  •  Dang, the lack of a stronger recovery is going to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash, nathanfl, annecros, cpresley

    continue to be a challenge for us.  

    Also, I've read that the drought has so devastated the agricultural sector that we may be at risk for slipping back into a recession.  

    One small silver lining, with over half of the counties in the US declared Federal disaster areas, we can remind folks of yet, another government assistance programs for small and large agricultural business that the anti-government tea-party overlook.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:01:25 AM PDT

  •  I try to figure out if these numbers are sexy./nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Adp report on job growth is about 30% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trotskyrepublican, Irixsh

    Higher than forecast. Improvement over past2 months.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:02:29 AM PDT

    •  As reported in... (5+ / 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 Aug 02, 2012 at 07:09:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  quick ? (0+ / 0-)

        How good are the ADP reports?  I know they use different tools to derive the numbers from the government, it's hard to tell which one should be considered more reliable.  In the face of competing numbers, I'm not sure how much confidence to invest in ADP's numbers.

        •  The key aspects: The trend lines for... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cpresley

          ...both ADP and the government's reports are almost always a match; after revisions a year later (which doesn't help us now) the numbers from ADP's and the government tend to converge more closely. So, the answer to your question is like that for all economic news: Do. Not. Depend. On. A. Single. Source.

          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 Aug 02, 2012 at 07:44:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, last month the ADP looked good ... (0+ / 0-)

            And the trend of the 'real' numbers matched but at like, one third of the ADP number?   In any event ... I'll take the trend if it's all we can grab onto!

          •  This... (0+ / 0-)
            after revisions a year later (which doesn't help us now)
            is something that has me very concerned. BLS job numbers are sometimes quite significantly revised in the months after they're reported.

            Remember last August when it was reported that ZERO jobs were created? Rethugs started calling Obama "President Zero"?  It turns out, after revisions months later, that over 100,000 jobs were actually created that month, not the "zero" initially reported.

            (Apparently, the BLS does a random survey to come up with their numbers and if they don't reach someone in the initial survey, those numbers aren't reported until later when those respondents are reached. I'm guessing August is a big vacation month when people may be unreachable initially).

            Something like that in the next few months would really suck for us. It could cost President Obama the election... and then months later, when the revisions, come out.... "oops, never mind. There were actually a ton of jobs created."  

            Too late.

            Yes, this crap keeps me up at night.

            I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

            by rennert on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 09:50:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Typically ADP's Numbers are tight (0+ / 0-)

          they are the largest payroll company in the U.S. after all, and they take this stuff seriously.

          it's one of the few numbers I pay attention to

          "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

          by Superpole on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:12:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Get used to it. It is the new economy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, The Hamlet

    My father worked seasonal work (carpentry in an area with severe winters).   He was on and off UI every six to eight weeks after a job finished and he got back in line for the next call out.

    We are now seeing white collar and service workers being treated the same way.  Short term employment for need and then layoffs and then rehires.

    High UI numbers mean that those 365,000 people have worked in the last year.   That is MUCH better than having people meet their 99 week limit and fall out of the workforce.

    It is not your 35 year career job that we are seeing being created by our "Masters", but there is work out there starting to come back.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:03:28 AM PDT

  •  Factory Production Was Down (0+ / 0-)

    in July, but I predict production will p/u in August because the Chinese's economy is starting to get warmer again.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:16:54 AM PDT

    •  What warming signs? NYT, Aug. 1: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annecros, soros, cpresley
      China’s economy continued to show signs of slowing Wednesday after an important measure of the nation’s economic growth weakened.

      China’s official factory purchasing managers’ index slipped to 50.1 points in July, a slight drop from June’s reading of 50.2 points and the lowest figure in eight months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

      The figures showed that while factory output was growing slightly, new orders and exports were declining. A reading above 50 points indicates growth; one below 50 signals contraction.

      “This is not the bump that the authorities are looking for,” analysts at IHS Global Insight said in an economic report issued early Wednesday.

      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 Aug 02, 2012 at 07:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The one key number is tomorrow (0+ / 0-)

    Month end, a downside surprise of 8.1% would rock!!!! I have a sneaking suspicion it will happen with job growth slightly above expectations @ 128K....IMHO with no direct knowledge.

  •  Who Among Us here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    believes the private sector is going to pull us out of this mess, similar to previous recessions?

    if your answer is yes, my question then is how?

    The Obama administration says one reason the U.S. economic recovery has been so slow is that it is still suffering from the aftermath of the financial crisis. But the U.S. is not the first country to suffer a recession and a financial crisis. And the U.S. recovery is doing worse than all of them.

    In a new research note, JPMorgan points out that since 1970, Japan, Finland and Sweden have all gone through what the U.S. is currently going through. And all three of them had recoveries stronger than America’s. The above chart compares the economic recovery — as measured by real GDP per capita — of each nation at different points after the trough of their recessions. And the U.S. is in dead last after 12 quarters from the bottom.

    You should particularly note how the U.S. is doing versus Japan, another large, advanced economy. As JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli notes:

    The poster child for slow growth coming out of a debt-fuelled financial crisis has to be Japan, which ever since the early 1990s has had trouble getting a head of steam. The recession which kicked off Japan’s “lost decade” lasted from 1991 to 1993. Including the recovery experience from that recession is sobering: we are currently faring worse than Japan at the same point in their lost decade.

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/...

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:09:41 PM PDT

  •  Sometimes it's tough to correlate statistical data (0+ / 0-)

    with personal experience, but in this case, I'm seeing it.  Things at my job are slow, and a good friend got laid off a few weeks ago.  Not happy times right now.  I still have hope that things are improving overall, but this isn't a rosy week here.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:15:47 PM PDT

  •  It's almost as if (0+ / 0-)

    they don’t want us to have a clear picture of the labor market’s health. The purpose of which could possibly be to camouflage a weakening labor market report, which could further weaken the economy/labor market.
    Stop me when I cross over into the CT category. :-)

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