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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unemployment Numbers Drop Slightly - That’s A Good Thing

Unemployment Numbers Drop Slightly - That’s A Good Thing

But Will They Go Right Back Up After Christmas?

By Dell Hill

The US got some good news, albeit qualified, on the job front today from the Department of Labor.  The level of initial jobless claims last week fell to 366,000, the lowest level since a normal recession turned into something historically ugly:

In the week ending December 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 366,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 385,000.  The 4-week moving average was 387,750, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 394,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending December 3, unchanged from the prior week’s revised rate.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 3 was 3,603,000, an increase of 4,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,599,000.  The 4-week moving average was 3,666,250, a decrease of 5,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,671,250.

And what all of that means is - if it lasts, it’s good news.  If, as expected, the post-Christmas retail numbers flatten again, those very same numbers are likely to go up.  They always have and there’s no compelling reason for them not to again this year.

The White House will have its town criers out in force, proclaiming the great “recovery” news, but only the naive or inexperienced will receive that news and pop the cork on a magnum of champagne.

We’ve now experienced not one, but TWO recovery summers, according to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. If what we’ve seen is a recovery, it’s going to be a very long time before Happy Days Are Here Again.

This president needs a full two point drop in the unemployment numbers in order to do any serious crowing about recovery, which makes me wonder what changes in the formula they’ll come up with to make those “numbers that lie” seem like the truth before next November.

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