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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press New Unemployment Insurance Claims: Which Way Is Up?

New Unemployment Insurance Claims: Which Way Is Up?

Thursday, 21 April 2011 09:18

The headline of the WSJ article on weekly unemployment insurance filings told readers, "jobs data signal progress." The article then went on to tell readers that:

"Initial jobless claims decreased by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000 in the week ended April 16."

It's always good to hear that unemployment claims are down from the prior week, except the prior week's number was a jump of 31,000 from the level reported two weeks earlier. This means that the number reported for last week was still 18,000 higher than the the number of claims reported two weeks earlier. In fact, this is the first time that we have seen two consecutive weeks in which claims have exceeded 400,000 since January.

We always need the caveat that weekly jobless claim numbers are erratic, and two weeks does not establish much of a pattern. But it is clear that the news in this report suggests that the economy is going in the wrong direction, except to the WSJ.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by foosion, April 21, 2011 10:39
Corporate profits are up. US equity markets are as high as they've been in two or three years. CEO pay is soaring.

At the same time, our political debate is focussed on cutting the deficit, cutting entitlements and cutting taxes.

What other evidence does the WSJ need that things are moving in the right direction? Low unemployment is a socialist plot to raise labor costs.

Perhaps you have a different definition of progress than the WSJ.
written by izzatzo, April 21, 2011 11:46
CEO pay is soaring. ... Low unemployment is a socialist plot to raise labor costs.

At least the socialist plot succeeded to create artificial scarcity for CEOs. Achieving one out of two objectives is not bad for nanny state objectives designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

Oh wait ... both objectives were achieved weren't they ... because labor can never be scarce ... except of course when unemployment is 'structural' ... which also means CEO employment is obviously 'structural', otherwise the obscene pay levels driven by CEO scarcity couldn't be explained could they ...

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.