Jobless Claims and Hiring

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Friday, 20 August 2010 07:08

In an article on the rise in weekly unemployment claims reported yesterday the Post told readers that: "economists say that the weekly claims number needs to get into the low 400,000s and stay there before employers will start hiring new workers and bringing back laid-off ones." Actually, employers are already hiring more than 4 million workers a month. The problem is that roughly 4 million workers a month are also leaving their jobs, half voluntarily and half involuntarily. The decline in claims is an indication of an improving labor market, it is not a signal to employers to start hiring.

It is also worth noting that claims are likely to have to fall below 400,000 before we see a substantial uptick in hiring. Weekly claims had fallen to the 370,000-380,000 range before the economy started generating jobs in the fall of 2003 following the last recession. And the economy has roughly the same number of jobs today as it did then.