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first-time jobs benefit claims for the week of Aug. 18, 2012
For the week ending August 18, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment rose to 372,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was the highest number in five weeks and an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 368,000, originally reported as 366,000.  

The number for the comparable week in 2011 was 414,000. Claims have not been above 400,000 since mid-October of last year.

The four-week moving average, which most analysts prefer because it flattens the volatility of the weekly figure, rose to 368,000, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 364,250.

For both state and federal programs, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending August 4 was 5,594,498. That was a decrease of 109,812 from the previous week.

As always, too much should not be read into a single report. The trend is what matters. Over the course of the past year, that trend has been downward, but a lot flatter than the downward trend in 2011. Benefit reports for August suggest that the monthly jobs report coming September 7 will likely be in the same range or slightly lower than the one released at the beginning of this month. That showed 163,000 seasonally adjusted jobs created in July, 150,000 more people leaving the labor market, and an uptick in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:25 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Next jobs report Sept. 7 not 11 n/t (6+ / 0-)
  •  Not sure if this means anything, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, themis, Larsstephens

    but there will be five weeks between Labor Dept. reports from August until September.    Has any work been done on whether that either emphasizes or de-emphasizes changes?

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:29:31 AM PDT

  •  True, but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GRLionsFan, themis, TomP
    As always, too much should not be read into a single report.
    Won't stop the other side along with the media from predicting DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM for the Democrats come November.
  •  Couple questions for you MB: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    themis, Kevvboy

    1. Do you think it's worth pointing out that we are within 50k claims of where we were pre-recession? and that the movement isn't significant?

    2. Any idea on how the fluctuations in the UE rate look like compared to average flux when it was down in the 5%'s? If the UE rate has essentially floored, sounds like we have a big, big structural problem still.

    vigilant COYB - Who are ya Van Persie?

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:40:20 AM PDT

    •  As for No. 1, the claims numbers are an... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, PrahaPartizan, Larsstephens

      ...imperfect match for the jobs report except to note that they are always higher (obviously) during a recession than during a time of strong growth.

      If you look back at the best period of sustained growth (Clinton years May 1996—May 2000), you'll see month after month of job growth well above 200,000, with months below that level matched by months above 300,000. As you point out, we are, through much of that period, in the very low 300,000s in terms of monthly job claims.

      Fluctuation in jobless rate when it was lower during that same Clinton period was steadily downward from January 1997 through December 2000 when it began its uptick for that recession.

      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 23, 2012 at 07:00:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And there are different types of UE. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PrahaPartizan, Meteor Blades

        I know you know this, but for the rest of the crowd, there is what economists call "cyclical" and what they refer to as "structural" unemployment. If 300,000 people make jobless claims during a time of low unemployment and good job growth, it is likely they were in an unfortunately dying industry, or they were laid off for another reason, etc. If 300,000 people over 50 are claiming new, it's far more likely there's a big structural issue (this is oversimplifying but not offbase).

        vigilant COYB - Who are ya Van Persie?

        by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:06:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Below 375K, so this is a good report. (5+ / 0-)

    375,000 is generally accepted as the level at which the economy is adding jobs.

    "375,500, pretty much the break even point to indicate job creation"

    "experience has shown that, if the initial jobless claims number stabilized at 375 000, you can show that the job market, employment demand is strong, the unemployment rate will decline"

    "375,000, a level that economists say reflects a healthy job market and means the unemployment rate will fall"

    "Jobless claims below 375,000 generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate"

    "When applications drop below 375,000, it typically suggests that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate"

    •  The only problem with all those quotes? ... (0+ / 0-)

      ...The number was below 370,000 for 20 of the past 41 weeks, including the four weeks of the reporting period for April used for the BLS jobs report for that month, which, so far, has been the worst of 2012.

      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 23, 2012 at 09:13:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding workers "leaving the labor force," (6+ / 0-)

    remember that 10,000 baby boomers per day attain age 65, and in 2012 an additional 10,000 per day attain age 66.

    10,000 per day is 300,000 per month reaching age 65 and another 300,000 per month reaching age 66.  If only 150,000 net left the labor market, that would indicate that non-retirees are actually rejoining the labor market.

  •  Two things I have recently learned. (4+ / 0-)

    1) in a discussion of the July numbers, it was revealed that some industries lay off their workforce as a matter or routine, while they retool their factories for new model production.  In other words, corporations are using the unemployment fund as a cushion and to keep their work-force on tap.  This was revealed in explanation of why this year's numbers aren't comparable to past years because the car companies have been working over-time and aren't downshifting production as they normally do. So, the unemployment fund is actually an industrial subsidy.

    2) The word is going around that although orders are being placed to sub-contractors, the big guys are holding off giving the go-ahead for them actually being filled until after the uncertainty of the election is over-come.  What was, at first, a rumor from a son who's employed at a small firm (12 regular employees), the matter received coverage in my paper today in the context of the uncertainty that's been dogging Wall Street spreading to other industries.

    We do seem to be at a cross-roads to decide whether we're going back to the captains of industry and finance calling the shots or the American people governing themselves.

    The lust for power is apparently stronger than the lust for wealth. For some people, deprivation of their fellow man is an aphrodisiac.  Perhaps that explains the obsession with lady parts.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:51:25 AM PDT

    •  People governing themselves means what??? (0+ / 0-)

      I wish I understood this concept. Can you explain?

      "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

      by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:31:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The people hire the agents (stewards) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        they want and can trust and the agents carry out the duties as they are assigned in the Constitution.
        What conservatives prefer to argue is that elections merely replace the prior designation of rulers via conquest or heredity and that the elect are to act in loco parentis or substitute parents making all decisions for the dependent population. Where Republicans focused on telling people what to do so they could support both themselves and their betters, Democrats suggested a more generous arrangement under which producers (the people) get to keep more for themselves and have some security in case of a catastrophe. Neither main party was keen on being responsive to the electorate, especially not once all adults were enfranchised and various open government rules were pushed through. The year for universal suffrage, btw, was 1971.  That was the same year gold got dumped for good.  A very bad year for the ruling elite. They've been conniving for the last 40 years to figure out how to regain control.  For a long time, it looked like getting everyone hooked on money would do it.  Because, if everyone had to use money for their daily needs, then it would be easy to just tighten the purse strings until the working population did what it was told.  But, it wasn't that easy.  The social programs put in place to alleviate distress continued to let the money flow, albeit at a reduced rate.  Also, people with practical skills, it turned out could always diversify and return to barter. (LA is trying to limit the number of days a month people can have yard sales).  Then along came the internet and it was immediately obvious to people that they could deal in an alternate economy, outside the control of the financiers and the banks.
        The election of Barack Obama was a disaster.  Not only was the effort to thin the electorate undone, but he wasn't the anointed Democratic candidate.  It was supposed to be Hillary.  (the power brokers had been hedging their bets by funding candidates in each party)  Yes, Obama got money from Wall Street, but that was to hedge their bets and, if worse came to worst, buy him off.
        Wall Street thinks it got suckered.  I don't know where they got that idea.  The community organizer had obviously cottoned to the fact that the financial system couldn't be fixed one bank at a time.  ACORN tried that and it didn't work because banks always prefer paying money to opening their books.
        See?  thanks for the opportunity to bloviate.

        Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

        by hannah on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 09:42:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the thoughtful reply. It boils down to (0+ / 0-)

          then to preserving and protecting freedom for without there could be no self-governing. Quick question, you say the presidents election was a disaster...disaster for whom?

          "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

          by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 07:18:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just had to reply to catch n cage;) (0+ / 0-)

      "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

      by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 07:34:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are those who don't qualify for unemployment (0+ / 0-)

    benefits, ever taken into account in unemployment rates statistics? People on and off part-time jobs, who are unemployed completely for certain period of times, then employed part-time, then off, then on to the next part-time job, without ever gaining enough to claim for benefits?

  •  The job creator myth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, NWTerriD

    I heard it again this morning from Joe the Blowhard and it really bugs - that the small businesses aren't hiring because of regulation and uncertainty. Or they try to blame the Affordable Care Act.
    On a personal level this is so untrue. My husband owns a small business and we are still way down from the numbers of 2007 but it's not because we are over regulated or fear uncertainty - it's because we don't have any customers. The freeze on dollars from the banks is what is hurting us - the business is construction-related and as housing is coming back so is our company.  The other part of the business that relies on consumer purchases is going great - people are spending money if they can get it!
    It really drives me crazy.

  •  That chart (0+ / 0-)

    makes the choice in this election pretty clear, doesn't it?

    Republican policies - unemployment skyrockets; Obama solutions - unemployment plummets.

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 12:23:05 PM PDT

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