March 31, 2011

Improvement in Initial Unemployment Claims Slowing?
— Geoff

Everybody's biggest economic fear, right after the one about total economic collapse and anarchy, is that we may fall into the second trough of a double-dip recession. We had been seeing some improvement on the business front (not, as Monty points out, on the debt front) - several of the indicators were looking better, but the last few months have not been so encouraging. Today we're seeing Initial Claims data which are also not very uplifting.

This blog was one of the first to note that Initial Unemployment Claims stopped improving back in November 2009, and one of the first to point out that they started improving again in August 2010. So let us be the first today to say that it looks like the improvement might have stalled once more.

Today the Department of Labor reported initial claims of 388,000, down 6000 from a revised number of 394,000 for last week (last week's original number was 382,000: the +12,000 correction was one of the largest I've seen). It's encouraging that it stayed below 400,000, but as you can see from the plot, the lovely downward trend we've enjoyed since last August seems to have stopped in January. Now we're just crawling sideways. Again.

Initial-Unemployment-Filings-Mar312011Small.gif


It's a little early to say for sure - we should know within three or four weeks whether the doldrums persist.

Posted by: Geoff at 05:24 AM | Comments (60)
Post contains 237 words, total size 2 kb.

1 All these jobs loses can be cured with high speed rail.......just saying!

Posted by: Slow Joe Biden at March 31, 2011 05:25 AM (OWjjx)

2

Relax Geoff. I present to you the solution, as given to me by that divine economic Goddess, Mika Brezhinski. Mika explains that since government jobs were the biggest losers last quarter, we simply hire more government workers and, presto! economic growth for everybody.

Yes ---- she really said that. The stupid......it hurts.

Posted by: Mallamutt at March 31, 2011 05:27 AM (OWjjx)

3 Just think Mallamutt, Mika gets them smarts directly from White House on her crackberry!

Posted by: Schwalbe : The at March 31, 2011 05:30 AM (UU0OF)

4 So does this mean Doom or boning? It's unclear to me.

Posted by: blaster at March 31, 2011 05:31 AM (l5dj7)

5

Posted by: Schwalbe : The © at March 31, 2011 10:30 AM (UU0OF

Well....and there is genetics. Remember, her dad was the guy who thought a helicopter rescue mission in a sand storm was a good idea. 1970s helicopters.

Posted by: Mallamutt at March 31, 2011 05:32 AM (OWjjx)

6 That ridiculous Democrat Krystal Ball was on Red Eye last night and almost made a good point.  They were talking about that basketball hoop indecent in Delaware and she said:

"I am continuely outraged by this abuse of government power .."

So far, so good...

"...and this is why I want the Federal Government to regulate everything.  Keep the local government off of my street and out of my yard.  The Federal Government should regulate absolutely everything and that would take care of this problem."

Oh! So close.  Also, Democrats are morons.

Posted by: Johnny at March 31, 2011 05:33 AM (mhmc7)

7

So does this mean Doom or boning? It's unclear to me.

Your doomed to be boned.

Posted by: Mallamutt at March 31, 2011 05:33 AM (OWjjx)

8 Know what would cure the doldrums, along with solving our budgeting problems?

Tax hikes on millionaires and those heartless bastards that dare to move factories overseas because of burdening taxes and regulation! 


/Every economic policy a Democrat proposes includes a tax increase somewhere.

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at March 31, 2011 05:34 AM (9hSKh)

9
So does this mean Doom or boning? It's unclear to me.

It means BOHICA.

Posted by: geoff at March 31, 2011 05:34 AM (Fj/WG)

10 Malaise!

Posted by: nickless at March 31, 2011 05:34 AM (b7FhC)

11 It's encouraging that it stayed below 400,000, but as you can see from the plot, the lovely downward trend we've enjoyed since last August seems to have stopped in January. Now we're just crawling sideways. Again.

This kind of hockey-stick is the one we should be worried about, not the fakey-one made by Mann et al. 

Posted by: Kratos (Ghost of Sparta) at March 31, 2011 05:35 AM (9hSKh)

12 Posted by: Mallamutt at

I know she's dumb, but she's not that dumb. She didn't actually say that, did she??

Posted by: laceyunderalls has Redleg fever at March 31, 2011 05:35 AM (pLTLS)

13 Shouldnt we add 12,000 to save the time of next weeks 'correction'? Funny how the errors never seem to be higher than the reported figure.

Posted by: Schwalbe : The at March 31, 2011 05:37 AM (UU0OF)

14 Posted by: Johnny at March 31, 2011 10:33 AM (mhmc7)

Did anybody think to ask her if she felt that way before January 20 2009?

Of if she'll still feel that way after January 20 2013?

Be careful what you wish for...

Posted by: Nighthawk at March 31, 2011 05:39 AM (OtQXp)

15 --is that we may fall into the second trough of a double-dip recession.

Did we ever really emerge from the recession, to begin with?  I don't think that one can point to 3% GDP growth, while a good deal of that "GDP growth" is the 10%+ of current GDP that Washington is stealing from the future and spending right now, and call that true economic growth.  To me, that works out to a contraction in real GDP (a big one, at that) that is merely papered over temporarily.  The economic activity that is supported by marginal federal deficit spending will come to a quick halt the moment that money stops flowing.

Posted by: iknowtheleft at March 31, 2011 05:40 AM (G/MYk)

16 Every economic policy a Democrat proposes includes a tax increase somewhere.

If you want to be a good American, ya gotta have some skin in the game, pal.

Posted by: Smokin' Joe Biden at March 31, 2011 05:44 AM (vbh31)

17 Jobs? Lagging indicator! Presidential blow off a White House mirror? V shaped recovery, baby! Corporate hoards of cash! Chop some more lines!

Posted by: Larry "8 Ball" Kudlow at March 31, 2011 05:44 AM (/dIpC)

18 Posted by: iknowtheleft at March 31, 2011 10:40 AM (G/MYk)

It goes to the "technical definition" which is what whatever group decides if we're in a recession or not (I've heard who that was, at one point, but I can't remember) uses if there's a Democrat in office.  If a Republican were in office, they'd be claiming we were still in a recession, of course.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at March 31, 2011 05:45 AM (8y9MW)

19 I'm not going to die with the mantle of 'Worst American President.'

Thank you, Barry.

Posted by: Jimmah Carter at March 31, 2011 05:46 AM (b7FhC)

20 Check out the arugula in this Government cheese!

Posted by: eman: Japanese Babe Rescue Team at March 31, 2011 05:50 AM (T0S5U)

21 So tell me, what is the impetus for more hiring? What is going to spur the economy? Green jobs? Auto sales? Tsunami in Japan? Computer/cell phone sales? Cosmetic surgery? I mean really, I just see the private sector getting ground down harder and harder. And we should be thanking Barry.

Posted by: Reader C.J. Burch writes... at March 31, 2011 05:53 AM (usS2T)

22  Mika explains that since government jobs were the biggest losers last quarter, we simply hire more government workers and, presto! economic growth profits! for everybody.

There ya' go.


Posted by: mrp at March 31, 2011 05:53 AM (HjPtV)

23 It goes to the "technical definition" which is what whatever group decides if we're in a recession or not (I've heard who that was, at one point, but I can't remember) uses if there's a Democrat in office.  If a Republican were in office, they'd be claiming we were still in a recession, of course.

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at March 31, 2011 10:45 AM (8y9MW)

Actually, most people have been saying - even to this point - that we are still in a recession.  People kept saying that "you never raise taxes in a recession" (both Republicans AND Democrats) all the way through that lame duck rape of America.  I used to get a kick out of it.  The difference is that, while everyone has been admitting that, the MFM never bothered writing stories about it.  Instead, they have been pushing the "green shoots" shit (which was always laughable) since the very beginning.

But my point about gaming the numbers (and the technical definition of 'recession') so transparently goes to a deeper issue.

Posted by: iknowtheleft at March 31, 2011 05:53 AM (G/MYk)

24 No new jobs to lose! No new jobs to lose! No new jobs to lose, ahhhhhh!

Posted by: Love and Rockets at March 31, 2011 05:53 AM (McG46)

25 Doom?  Unemployment?  Initial?
Surely this language emanates from the initials F.O.X. T.V.


Posted by: Media Mamzers of Sorosia Winning the Future at March 31, 2011 05:54 AM (kb0wl)

26 Judge Sumi (D - Moonbatville) made another ruling saying the WI is not in effect. This is her third ruling. She is hanging herself as a "judge".

Posted by: Flapjackmaka at March 31, 2011 05:56 AM (QRS0z)

27 Based on this - http://www.consumerindexes.com/ - I say the doldrums persist.

Posted by: profligatewaste at March 31, 2011 05:57 AM (b3rrc)

28 I'm going to have to see my therapist after looking at the WonderWoman in the links

Posted by: Cherry π at March 31, 2011 05:58 AM (+sBB4)

29 I'm sitting at McDonald's looking out the window at a gas station sign that says $3.55/gal.  In March.  That's up 20% in the last few months.

$4/gal gas back in 2008 is one thing that started the whole economic tumble that we're in right now.  At this rate we'll be at that benchmark before May.

That's going to have an effect on hiring and the wider economy.  If a double-dip is likely, and I think it is, we'll be there before Labor Day, and fuel costs on top of food and general inflation will do it.

His Emptiness got elected riding people's hopes that someone would bail us out of the shithole, and he's had no effect and given us nothing except spending al the money we hope to make in the next 20 years.  He's fixed no problems, made most of them worse, and inspired only the people with their hands out for more.  People wanted leadership, he failed, and, if they don't get their act together, too, the congressional GOP is going to be sharing the ice floe with him.

I'm going to Lowes and price pitchforks.

Posted by: nickless at March 31, 2011 05:59 AM (b7FhC)

30 That does beg the question- is it "W" double dip, or is it a plateau double dip?  I think the second.

Given that, and given that gas prices are about to start killing people (figuratively, if not literally) again, does anyone see how Barky and the Dems survive '12?  Or are we thinking blood-bath a la 2010?

Posted by: AllenG (Dedicated Tenther) at March 31, 2011 06:04 AM (8y9MW)

31 28 I'm going to have to see my therapist after looking at the WonderWoman in the links

Posted by: Cherry π at March 31, 2011 10:58 AM (+sBB4)

Yeah, I was going to remark on that as well.  Could we please lose that picture?  It's almost lunch time...

Posted by: Nighthawk at March 31, 2011 06:04 AM (OtQXp)

32

Two items:

What is the ratio/percentage of new claims to the number of currently employed?

For example, 400,000 is a higher percentage of 80 million than of 100 million.  The lower the employed work force is, the higher the percentage of it that a given number of new claims represents.

Years ago, when Reagan's economic policy had unemployment to about 6-7%, we were instructed by the libs to be very, very concerned about the discouraged workers who aren't counted, and the underemployed ("burger flippers").  Since we have a dem in the WH, the latter two categories are invisible.  SURprised me, by golly.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at March 31, 2011 06:06 AM (wxHHM)

33

Florida's unemployment numbers came out the other day. 11.2%. I still can't figure out whether that's the hope or the change. I think it's the change, 'cause I don't see much hope other than "it can't get any worse." But even then, there are new stories of gloom and bonedness every day.

I propose we take Dave Barry's icon, Walter, that bone from the penis of a walrus, and rename it something else.

"Barry" sounds suitable.

Posted by: Zero Based Budget at March 31, 2011 06:06 AM (d0Tfm)

34

Posted by: iknowtheleft at March 31, 2011 10:40 AM (G/MYk)

Yeah, its like taking a cash advance on your credit card, then calling it a pay raise because you have more money.

Posted by: Romeo13 at March 31, 2011 06:07 AM (NtXW4)

35

Zombie Billy Mays here, have you tried Sock-Be-Gone? Now it's new and improved!

But wait, there's more...

Posted by: BackwardsBoy at March 31, 2011 06:09 AM (d0Tfm)

36 That it, you're on Double Secret Inflation

Posted by: Dean Wormer, Obama School of Economics at March 31, 2011 06:09 AM (NtXW4)

37

I'm going to Lowes and price pitchforks.

Posted by: nickless at March 31, 2011 10:59 AM (b7FhC)

I'll bring torches and update the language in the Declaraton of Independence, from "King" to "corrupt, greedy and porcine statist pricks".   

Posted by: Beagle at March 31, 2011 06:09 AM (sOtz/)

38 Don't worry guys, the people in the MFM will keep their jobs blowing me, playing with my balls, and putting my pubic hair up in cornrows.

Posted by: President Obama, lightworker, orater, and Nobel Peace Prize winner at March 31, 2011 06:10 AM (uEUlN)

39 Any of you old goats remember a 1944 comedy called "See Here, Private Hargrove", starring Robert Walker and Donna Reed?  Described as "A clumsy cub reporter becomes a clumsy Private in Army boot camp".  Watching the first few minutes right now, pretty good as far as insults and banter go.

Posted by: Lincolntf at March 31, 2011 06:13 AM (xMT+4)

40 I happened to listen to "On Point" in the car this morning -- it's the NPR morning call-in show, their sad attempt to do a Rush-style program so that leftist stoners can share their feelings over the airwaves at taxpayer expense.

Anyway. Today's show was all about the fantastic, incredible, wonderful economic BOOM going on right now in Silicon Valley. Pure cheerleading. They had an L.A. Times reporter talking about how great it was, a California development official talking about how great it was, and a chick from Moody's talking about how great it was and how it's going to lift the whole country, the whole world out of recession. Because social-media startups and small computer game companies are going to be the global economic engine for the next decade!

I nearly had to pull over and barf. Can they be any less subtle in their propaganda? It was like listening to Soviet radio bragging about tractor production.

Posted by: Trimegistus at March 31, 2011 06:15 AM (YIKQc)

41 When we all have our government jobs and live in identical, egg crate apartments, then can we finally look at the gubbermint financials objectively and realize that there ain't enough cash to support everyone?

Posted by: Damiano at March 31, 2011 06:15 AM (3nrx7)

42 If you pay off my taxes, I'll tell you something good.

Posted by: Jon Carry's Boat at March 31, 2011 06:17 AM (MIi4N)

43 There is so little variation of the actual data points off of Geoff's regression lines, one with any statistical training has to question the accuracy of the data points.

Almost like the straight line was selected then numbers created to match.




Also, Geoff, do you have data available prior to Feb 2009 to see if this there is a similar lack of variation under prior administrations?

Posted by: Mark E at March 31, 2011 06:19 AM (w5RwR)

44 41 When we all have our government jobs and live in identical, egg crate apartments, then can we finally look at the gubbermint financials objectively and realize that there ain't enough cash to support everyone?

Posted by: Damiano at March 31, 2011 11:15 AM (3nrx7)

At that point the only thing to do is cut the Soylent Green ration and "encourage" more production, if you know what I mean...

Posted by: Nighthawk at March 31, 2011 06:20 AM (OtQXp)

45 "NPR... a chick from Moody's talking about how great it was and how it's going to lift the whole country, the whole world out of recession. Because social-media startups and small computer game companies are going to be the global economic engine for the next decade!" Seriously? That's their line now, the next tide to lift all boats will be the next Facebook? BONED.

Posted by: George Orwell at March 31, 2011 06:26 AM (AZGON)

46 No kittens, I came for the kittens

Posted by: Jean at March 31, 2011 06:35 AM (WkuV6)

47 Orwell: they were sure working hard to give everyone that impression. Because that way all the idiot hipsters who spend their days on Facebook can flatter themselves that they're at the cutting edge of the New Economy.

Posted by: Trimegistus at March 31, 2011 06:37 AM (YIKQc)

48 Everybody's biggest economic fear, right after the one about total economic collapse and anarchy, is that we may fall into the second trough of a double-dip recession

Not me. I have always said we have not recovered the first time yet. Any positive GDP numbers they have posted have been lies. The unemployment numbers are lies.

This adm is incapable of anything but lies.

Posted by: Vic at March 31, 2011 06:39 AM (M9Ie6)

49 This graph needs a few chart-mates... like around the Bush Tax Cuts, and when Nancy took over the House...

Posted by: phreshone at March 31, 2011 06:39 AM (T3vCe)

50 That ridiculous Democrat Krystal Ball was on Red Eye last night and almost

Posted by: Johnny at March 31, 2011 10:33 AM (mhmc7)

 

Krystal Ball? I wonder if she has siblings - Basket, Wiffle, Base, Foot

 

Posted by: TheQuietMan at March 31, 2011 06:39 AM (1Jaio)

51 Can we get a chart of the pace of corrections, to see if they are getting more accurate. 

Posted by: Jean at March 31, 2011 06:39 AM (WkuV6)

52 Well, here in the State of Texas many if not most of the Independent School Districts, Universities and local governments are attritting and riffing employees for their next fiscal year. I expect the numbers of unemployed will go up

Posted by: Hal at March 31, 2011 06:41 AM (5XGxT)

53 <em>There is so little variation of the actual data points off of Geoff's regression lines, one with any statistical training has to question the accuracy of the data points.

Almost like the straight line was selected then numbers created to match.</em>

THE JIG IS UP.

Posted by: Car in at March 31, 2011 06:41 AM (bW9IA)

54 "Almost like the straight line was selected then numbers created to match." In government work neatness counts.

Posted by: George Orwell at March 31, 2011 06:44 AM (AZGON)

55
Also, Geoff, do you have data available prior to Feb 2009 to see if this there is a similar lack of variation under prior administrations?

Yes - I have a plot going back to the beginning of 2007 - I've shown it here on several occasions. The scatter in the points is actually larger of late than it was back when the economy was more stable.

One of the keys to the regression fits is picking the time periods. I try to break the fits up into those linear regions where the R^2 values are the highest.

It's not easy to make it look that good.

Posted by: geoff at March 31, 2011 07:01 AM (Fj/WG)

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Just 'cos we're in the Ozarks doesn't mean you get to dump on us. 

 

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