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Archive for Friday, December 16, 2011

Unemployment claims are lowest in 3 1/2 years

December 16, 2011

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— The job market is healthier than at any time since the end of the Great Recession.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since May 2008, a sign that the waves of corporate layoffs that have defined the past few years are all but over.

“This is unexpectedly great news,” said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics.

It will take an additional step — robust hiring, not just the end of layoffs — to bring the 8.6 percent unemployment rate down significantly. Experts say that won’t happen until businesses are more confident about customer demand. And the European debt crisis could still cause damage here.

But the report on unemployment claims Thursday was the latest to suggest that the economy, two and a half slow years after the official end of the recession, may finally be picking up momentum.

The nation added 100,000 or more jobs every month from July through November, the first five-month streak since 2006. And the economy, which was barely growing when the year started, has picked up speed each quarter.

More small businesses plan to hire than at any time in three years, a trade group said this week. And another private-sector survey found more companies are planning to add workers than at any time since 2008.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits came in at 366,000, down from 385,000 the week before. That moves the figure closer to its pre-recession range of roughly 280,000 to 350,000.

The last time claims were so low, the nation was six months into the recession but didn’t know it yet. The unemployment rate was 5.4 percent — a level almost hard to imagine these days. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for almost three years.

Unemployment claims are a measure of the pace of layoffs, and they have declined steadily for three months.

But that’s just part of the picture. Business aren’t hiring with gusto. Unemployment fell 0.4 of a percentage point last month, but about half the decline was because people gave up looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

“One of the features of this recovery is that hiring is exceptionally weak,” said Jeremy Lawson, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas.

Comments

twaldaisy 3 years ago

Duh! It is called Christmas rush. Every store and major distribution center is busy from Oct. to right after Christmas and hire lots of people. Then they get laid off around January. Am. Eagle and Walmart DC in Ottawa does this every year. We need permanent year round jobs in America.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years ago

"just be laid off"

Temporary workers don't get to be "laid off". Their job just ends, so they cannot collect unemployment benefits.

Getaroom 3 years ago

And the Mathinator speaks great wisdom as the Evil Liberal Associated Press reports the statics that Obama has forced upon them. Much ado about nothing new in this report. It's all bleak and of course if you listen to the Mathinator it is all Obamas fault. Nothing new there either.

Sunny Parker 3 years ago

People aren't eligible for unemployment after being 'unemployed' for so long. That is why the numbers are false!

jhawkinsf 3 years ago

And there are people who are on unemployment who don't do those things necessary to become employed. It probably equals out with the number of unemployed who have given up looking. I'd say the numbers are pretty accurate or at least as accurate as any guesstimate can be.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

How does one prepare for jobs that don't exist?

jhawkinsf 3 years ago

I recall living in California in the '90's during the height of the dot com era. Everyone and I mean everyone who wanted to work had a job. And a high paid job. Yet there was a substantial unemployment and homeless problem. I worked with that population for a period of time.
There will always, always be a certain number of people who don't want to work, despite their claims that they do. Chalk it up to human nature. We can count them in unemployment numbers if we choose. Or we can leave them out. It doesn't matter. Now balance that number against those that do want to work, those that are taking appropriate measures to become employed, yet still cannot find employment in this down economy, and you probably have an equal number. Or as I said, as equal as a guesstimate can be.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

Sorry, I just don't believe that half the unemployed are that way because they don't want to work. Sure, there are people out there that fit that description--lots of them. But the reason we have a real unemployment/underemployment rate of at least 15% is because high unemployment is built into our economic system. And that's much more the fault of the "job creators" than the unemployed.

jhawkinsf 3 years ago

As someone who was once employed, actually, several times, but then decided to open my own business, I've often wondered why more people don't make that choice. All this talk of "job creators" not providing. Look in the mirror and you will see exactly one job provider. One job creator. When I worked in social services, who was my job creator? Was it the President of the United States or was it all the people of this country? Pretty vague concepts to me. When I opened my own business, my job creator was me. Now that was a concept I understood. I couldn't call in sick, I had to work holidays. I did that year after year, no vacations. But I was my own boss, something that I really appreciated. Every dollar I earned, I knew I earned it.
The entrepreneurial spirit that built this country is often neglected when we speak of those job creators.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years ago

"The job market is healthier than at any time since the end of the Great Recession."

I didn't know it was over, I suppose it depends upon your definitions.

"the waves of corporate layoffs that have defined the past few years are all but over."

Is there a clump of Frosty the Snowman material's chance in Hades that's because they're all down to a skeletal crew now?

Oh wait. I forgot, Halloween's over.

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