Sure is quiet out there
I’m sure you’ve noticed the pattern – when unemployment figures show an increase in jobs, even a tiny one, administration figures can’t wait to find a microphone to announce that things are finally turning around. When “unexpectedly” bad numbers show up, they want to talk about other things. This happens to be one of those weeks:
In the week ending April 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 484,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 460,000. The 4-week moving average was 457,750, an increase of 7,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 450,250.
Now I’m not saying that’s abnormal or something only this administration does, but given the extent and duration of the unemployment situation, increases in the number of unemployed should be unexpected. And while any increase in jobs is to be seen as a positive sign, until there are multiple months above the + 140,000 level, we aren’t adding any jobs. That number is seen as what is necessary to maintain an employment rate percentage. So even to maintain a 9.7% unemployment percentage we need that monthly positive number to do so. The point being, reports like the one above indicate we may see that 9.7% rate nudge upward soon.
Lastly, one of the reasons many experts expect this to be a jobless recovery is because of its length. Companies who shed jobs over a year ago and have survived and may even be starting to thrive a bit are going to think very hard before they put more labor on. If they’ve been able to function efficiently – i.e. if their productivity has increased (and thereby their profit) with a reduced staff, they’re very likely to maintain their staffing at present levels. If they hire it won’t be until they absolutely have too (driven by a significant increase in business) but that could be months if not years away.
Certainly not a rosy picture.