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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Unemployment Insurance Claims Jump, This Is News

Unemployment Insurance Claims Jump, This Is News

Thursday, 05 May 2011 08:47

Weekly unemployment claims jumped to 474,000 last week, an increase of 43,000 from the level reported the previous week. This is seriously bad news about the state of the labor market. It seems that the numbers were inflated by unusual factors, most importantly the addition of 25,000 spring break related layoffs in New York to the rolls due to a changing vacation pattern, however even after adjusting for such factors, claims would still be above 400,000 for the fourth consecutive week.

This puts weekly claims well above the 380,000 level that we had been seeing in February and March. This suggests that job growth is slowing from an already weak level. This is news that should be reported prominently.

Comments (4)Add Comment
turning the blind, or jaundiced, eye
written by frankenduf, May 05, 2011 12:10
the stock market was up last week- so the economy can't be THAT bad off- duh
written by anonymous, May 05, 2011 1:09
"Job growth is slowing?"

Come on. The main reason the unemployment rate has declined is that people are getting so disaffected that they are dropping out of the labor force.

I'll wager that the growth rate of the number of jobs in the country is zero at best. And falling.

How about "job loss is accelerating."
written by John Q, May 05, 2011 2:29
"This is news that should be reported prominently."

It might be if among the commentariat's acquaintances some were unemployed and struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

But they move in a privileged circle insulated from the reality most people face, and so can afford to make "deficit deficit deficit" their chosen economic story.
Hey, its spring break
written by Steve, May 05, 2011 10:07
I heard this on NPR, and they claimed this was just a blip caused by Spring Break, leading to claims from staff at universities. They cited the labor department for this reasoning. I would think a journalist can check this by looking at similar figures for May in the last three years, but they apparently did not bother.

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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.