Free Markets, Free People


Unemployment numbers “unexpectedly” rise again? Really? Unexpectedly?

Unexpectedly for whom?

If anyone has been out and about in this economy, they don’t find the numbers “unexpected" at all:

Claims increased 13,000, to 472,000, while forecasters expected a slight drop to about 455,000 from the previous week’s seasonally adjusted 457,000, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.

Not good.  The Hill tries to put lipstick on this pig:

The four-week moving average, which smoothes out the volatility of the weekly number and is a better look at the employment picture, increased 3,250, to 466,500, from the previous week’s revised average of 463,250, the highest in almost three months.

But the fact of the matter is 3,250 jobs in a month isn’t even a good statistical blip.  In order to see real job creation numbers, we have to be in the neighborhood of creating 250,000 jobs over the same period.  So  essentially we have a job deficit of about 700,000 at the moment.

“Economists” cited by The Hill apparently have a much lower target in mind:

Economists argue that jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector.

Again, that’s not “job growth” – that’s just smaller decline in job losses.  And that decline may have nothing to do with reflecting “job growth”.  Job “growth” would be on the positive side of these numbers. Until they are positive, we’re essentially replacing a lost job with a new job or just seeing fewer losses.  Job recovery, if you will, takes place between these numbers and about 120,000 to 140,000 jobs which is the maintenance level of the unemployment percentage.  IOW, if we’re putting on 120,000 to 140,000, we’re essentially treading water in the jobs area.  Only once we’re past those numbers on the positive side are jobs “growing” in number.

Anyway, these numbers aren’t unexpected and they certainly aren’t good news.

~McQ

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