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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unemployment Numbers Due Out Friday

Unemployment Numbers Due Out Friday

No Significant Changes Anticipated

By Dell Hill

H/T - Ed Morrissey @ HotAir

The unemployment numbers are due out tomorrow (Friday) and the prediction from upon high is that initial claims for unemployment benefits will drop by 9,000.  In a country of 310,000,000 citizens, 9,000 is less than a drop in the bucket.  Government officials love to use those smaller numbers because there’s something seriously negative about telling the truth.

As of Thursday at noon, 25,406,771 Americans were unemployed.  That’s the number that strikes home with a vengeance.  Of course the government won’t report that number either.  They refuse to count those workers who have given up searching for work - and, of course, they’re still unemployed - but it’s all in how you juggle the formula to reach the desired results.

Ed Morrissey at HotAir loves to crunch the numbers.  I hate it.  So let’s let Ed do the honors this week.

“In the week ending October 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 397,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 406,000. The 4-week moving average was 404,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 406,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending October 22, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 22 was 3,683,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,698,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,703,250, a decrease of 10,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,713,750.

This isn’t much of a change, but it does go in the right direction.  Two states didn’t get their reports to the Department of Labor on time for today’s figures, though (Connecticut and Oklahoma), and the Department of Labor ended up estimating their figures instead.  That could mean a more significant revision next week, but probably not by a wide amount considering population sizes in both states.

Although the 400K level is certainly a psychological (or at least journalistic) threshold, Reuters actually does well to keep the proper perspective on the significance of this change:
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell below 400,000 last week for the first time in five weeks and a trend reading also edged lower, suggesting a modest improvement in the still-moribund labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 9,000 in the week ending October 29 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000, theLabor Department said on Thursday. The government raised slightly its estimate for claims filed during the prior week to 406,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims edging down to 400,000 from the previously reported 402,000. … The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, fell 2,000 to 404,500.

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen the 400K Myth appear in any Reuters report.  I’d call that progress.  They certainly had an opening in these numbers to claim that the new level signaled stable job growth, but passed.”

Over the past several months - nearly a year, in fact - there has been very little change in the Unemployment numbers and most economists predict that trend to continue at through election day 2012.

If Barack Obama is defeated in his re-election bid you’ll see an almost immediate, significant drop in unemployment.  If the Democrats should lose control of the Senate - and it’s possible - the entire nation will be headed back to work no later than January, 2013.  Should Obama win re-election, plan on a minimum of four more years of very high unemployment.  It’s as simple as that.

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