Archive for Friday, March 4, 2011

Drop in jobless claims raises hope for hiring

March 4, 2011


— The job market suddenly looks brighter.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits sank last week to its lowest point in nearly three years, and retailers and other service companies posted strong results Thursday for last month.

On the eve of the government’s February jobs report, the news suggests the economy may be about to take off despite growing concerns about inflation.

The stock market had its best day in three months. The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 190 points, or 1.6 percent, erasing most of its losses since the unrest in Libya began.

And some analysts raised their forecasts for how many jobs the economy created last month. The consensus is 175,000, but many economists are now estimating 200,000 or more, and they expect the pace to hold for the rest of the year.

That would almost certainly bring the unemployment rate, now 9 percent, down steadily.

“This is a good harbinger of a healthier job market to come,” said economist Sung Won Sohn at California State University.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to 368,000, the Labor Department said, the third decline in four weeks and the lowest level since May 2008. The figures are adjusted to account for seasonal differences.

The four-week average, which smooths out volatility to give a broader perspective, fell below 400,000 for the first time since July 2008.

When unemployment claims remain consistently below 375,000, that tends to signal steady declines in the unemployment rate. The figure peaked at 651,000 during the recession.

“The evidence is just stacking up that the labor market is picking up decisively,” said economist Jim O’Sullivan at MF Global.

Americans appear more confident about spending money, which could convince businesses that the time is right to start hiring more workers. Stores representing shopping tastes across the income spectrum reported strong sales for February, including J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Saks.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

"That would almost certainly bring the unemployment rate, now 9 percent, down steadily."

Not if the Republicans can manage to grind the economy to a halt by causing at least a million layoffs by gutting government services.

booyalab 7 years, 2 months ago

You do know that the G in GDP doesn't stand for government, don't you?

Richard Payton 7 years, 2 months ago

WAASHINGTON does look brighter after a load of laundry.

Brent Garner 7 years, 2 months ago

These numbers are a fraud! An absolute fraud! Gallup states that unemployment is above 10%. The government first discounts any individual whom they believe has stopped looking for work. Usually these are people who have exhausted their entire unemployment benefits. This does not mean those people are actually not looking but the government stops counting them. Convenient trick, right? Second, the government has, for the last 2 months deliberately and arbitrarily reduced the number of job openings the government believes are available so as to inflate the impact of job creation. In other words, the government "cooks the books" and does so for political purpose. Similarly, you should not believe the CPI inflation numbers because those are equally "cooked" but by a different method. In other words, folks, da gubberment is a lyin' to ya!!!

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