Jobless Claims Continue to Ease

For the third week in row the number of new jobless claims has eased.

The number of US workers claiming unemployment benefits for the first time eased last week, official figures showed on Thursday, lifting hopes that the pace of job losses may be slowing.

New jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 621,000 in the week ending May 30, the labour department said on Thursday. The decline was in line with economists’ expectations and marked the third consecutive week with fewer new claims.

This is a good sign, but it is far from conclusive that the recession is anywhere near over.

Image from Flickr user Cartographer under the Creative Commons license.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    This is a good sign, but it is far from conclusive that the recession is anywhere near over.

    Indeed, as we were asked a few years ago, how many have simply given up looking?

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    Indeed, as we were asked a few years ago, how many have simply given up looking?

    Wrong metric, this would apply to the unemployment rate.

  3. fester says:

    YEAH, 2nd Derivative is POSITIVE!

    The labor market still sucks and will continue to blow goats for another twelve to eighteen months.

  4. Wayne says:

    621,000 still seem pretty high to me. Maybe someone knows a 4 year average or something we can compare it to. 1/2 % decrease is not significant. It reminds me of a comment “he is bleeding pretty bad but not as bad as a few minutes ago”.

  5. odograph says:

    It’s stopped falling, but we don’t know if it’s an “L” or a “V”.

  6. Drew says:

    Me wonders if inventory liquidation the past 6 months won’t turn to inventory rebalancing – giving a false sense of improvement – and then its stall out city.

    That’s not a scenario I’m deriving from national statistics, but from observation of the business behaviors I see in my world, PE investing.

  7. Cool, the first derivative of the new unemployment claims function was 0 three weeks ago, subject, of course, to any revisions. Meanwhile the unemployment rate continues to rise to 9.2%.

  8. Michael says:

    For the third week in row the number of new jobless claims has eased.

    Does this support Alex’s claim from yesterday that people are going back to work (a claim you did not accept)? Granted it doesn’t say that they’re going back to work because of stimulus-money funded projects.

  9. Not sure we have enough info to know that the second derivative has gone positive, or that anyone would care to find the inflection points anyway.

  10. Michael, no more people are unemployed than the week before, it’s just the number of newly unemployed isn’t rising quite as fast. This article is excited about a rate of change, that’s all. Even another 500,000 unemployed a week indefinitely is not going to be seen as a good thing for very much longer.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Remember during the bad old Bush years when unemployment was 5.6% and the Dem’s were crying about the suffering of the unemployed? 9 something percent today. How is that stimulus working for ya? What can you expect from an administration that has the business sense to make a 31 year old who never ran a car business Auto Czar. Lee Iaccoca must be busy.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Indeed, as we were asked a few years ago, how many have simply given up looking?

    Ah, I can hear that wind blowing today, indeed I can…

  13. Michael says:

    Ah, I can hear that wind blowing today, indeed I can…

    Jesus H. Christ, man, get over him. Your obsession with Bithead is getting obscene.

  14. Steve Verdon says:

    Michael,

    Does this support Alex’s claim from yesterday….

    Possibly, but its rather weak evidence.

    …that people are going back to work (a claim you did not accept)?

    This does not show that since it looks at only new jobless claims, not who is going back to work. Further, a bit later in the article it is noted that unemployment is expected to break 9%.

    Granted it doesn’t say that they’re going back to work because of stimulus-money funded projects.

    That is because it doesn’t show anybody going back to work, but how many people are filing, for the first time, for unemployment benefits.

  15. odograph says:

    Peter Boockvar at The Big Picture had the ‘continuing’ numbers:

    Initial Jobless Claims totaled 621k, right in line with expectations BUT the main positive surprise was the 15k drop in Continuing Claims off its record high which came in 120k less than expected and was the first decline since January. The insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5%, the highest since 1982 where it got as high as 5.4%.

    That’s a data-dense paragraph (more there). The 15K drop is probably a statistical “flat.” Of course the “expected” was much worse.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Michael,

    Its something I do for fun on coffee breaks. You are free to tend to your own garden, we don’t need a hall monitor.

  17. odograph says:

    (The full set of unemployment stats, U1 -> U6, were last reported May 8th)

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm

  18. Michael says:

    Its something I do for fun on coffee breaks. You are free to tend to your own garden, we don’t need a hall monitor.

    This isn’t your garden though, it’s a common area provided to us by James. Polluting it doesn’t just effect you.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who is growing tired of the constant stream of empty ad hominems that take over otherwise civil and intelligent threads. Please at least add something to the discussion.

  19. anjin-san says:

    Micheal,

    I wish I had more time to participate in well reasoned meaningful discourse. The truth is that I don’t. If I piss jame off he can punt me any time. Ignorin people that bother you is a useful skill that every adult needs. I suggest you apply it to me.

  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    Oh crap the liberals are fighting LOL……..

  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    In Wisconsin unemployment is 10% Racine WI is like 17% and the state just raised taxes here 7%. so ah arr…………..

  22. anjin-san says:

    Well GA the interesting thing is that if we sat down for a few hours and talked polite I doubt very much that you would walk away thinking of me as a liberal. I hold some positions that are in the liberal mainstream and others that are not even close.

  23. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well GA the interesting thing is that if we sat down for a few hours and talked polite I doubt very much that you would walk away thinking of me as a liberal. I hold some positions that are in the liberal mainstream and others that are not even close.

    Dude, we talk politely, liberal, monkey worshiper, donkey lover are things I say to get peoples attention, I like attention.

    And I would love to sit down and talk to you some time,and guess what, many of my good friends are what I would call liberal and we go at it all the time, but I still love and respect them and they think I’m crazy, whats new.

    So don’t take it the wrong way, compared to the way I think now 98% of you are liberals to me, but then again I still love my devil music,smoke to much, talk to much shit and slip on drugs and porn once in a great while.

    I totally realize I’m just as f….ed up as the next guy or maybe a 1000% worse, lol.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Pick up a copy of Van Morrison’s “Avalon Sunset”. Very Godly, and very good. Coney Island is just flat out brilliant. Used to see ‘ol Van banging around in Sausalito back in the 70s.

    Stay away from the damn drugs, that crap has killed so many of my friends I have lost count. 20 years clean and sober for me on the 15th… It ain’t always easy, but I never wake up hung over 🙂

  25. Matt says:

    Wow that’s the first post of GA’s where he actually stopped the trolling act and let a slither of his real personality out..

  26. Matt says:

    Well the first post I’ve seen that is..

  27. Eric Florack says:

    Your obsession with Bithead is getting obscene.

    (Shrug) No, actually I understand it. It’s pathetic, but it’s all he’s got left.

  28. Michael says:

    (Shrug) No, actually I understand it. It’s pathetic, but it’s all he’s got left.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not obscene.

  29. anjin-san says:

    That doesn’t mean it’s not obscene.

    I guess we all have our own definition of what “obscene” means. I think that an American acting as a torture apologist is obscene. I think trashing Lt. Choi is obscene. I think that portraying Iran, a diverse nation that has a lot of citizens that don’t like their government as a monolithic bloc of religious zealots who live only to kill westerners is obscene. Certainly calling for war on them based on this false premise is.

    More than anything, I think that the damage done to our country and the world during the Bush era when the lies of the Bush admin/right wing/neocons were left unchallenged is obscene.

    So yea, I tee off on bit pretty often, as he is the most egregious purveyor of that sort of garbage, on this, my favorite political blog. I actually don’t think he believes most of what he is saying, my assessment is that he is an Ann Coulter wanna be, and when you make a lot of outrageous, red-meat statements, you can garner attention that you don’t merit on substance.

    So like I said earlier, feel free to ignore me. Or you can obsess on my alleged obsession. I ignore most of what GA & Ragsdorf say. It’s interesting, reading GA’s posts I think he is half out of his mind, but when we are talking about music he sounds like a pretty cool guy.

    I really wish I had more time for substantiative discussion of the important issues that are raised here every day. If I can find common ground with someone like James, who is an educated, articulate and basically intellectually honest person who I disagree on a lot of things with, it is a step towards healing the deep divisions in this country and dealing effectively with the many serious problems we face. But most of the time I have about 90 seconds to work with and I settle for taking a few potshots at my favorite right wing BS artist.

  30. Eric Florack says:

    The numbers of people you think are out of their mind is truly astounding.

    That should have been your first clue.

  31. anjin-san says:

    The numbers of people you think are out of their mind is truly astounding.

    That should have been your first clue.

    An interesting comment. After all, you are the guy who thinks there are millions upon millions of people in Iran that are suicidal maniacs who’s only ambition in life is to kill you.

    Perhaps you should apply the clue-o-meter to yourself, introducing the heartofore mutually excluse “clue” and “bithead”.

  32. Eric Florack says:

    I think the word “obscene ” to include blocking military ballots so as to discount a block of voters … that is to say soldiers and sailors who tend not to vote Democrat. I’ve never seen you complain about that, depite it becoming rather routine of the last 20 years or so. I wonder why .

    I think the word “obscene ” to include publicly declaring that President Bush delayed the Federal response to Katrina because he’s a racist. Ever sought you complain about that. I wonder why.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include having so little faith in human beings that they use government to diminish their dignity by expanding the welfare state thus increasing dependency on government.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include using government to pit economic groups against each other thus the stoking the fires of greed and envy and of course support for a particular party to end all that.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include Rewarding failure.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include promoting mediocrity

    I think the word “obscene ” to include siding with the tyrants of the world (Castro, Chavez, etc)

    I think the word “obscene ” to include siding with the terrorists of the world… (Hamas as an example)

    I think the word “obscene ” to include expecting everyone else to sacrifice their lifestyle so that they can ride their private jets from place to place around the country raising huge sums of money to preach to us about how we’re all supposed to be ‘green’… pushing environmental propaganda base don junk science, predicting environmental catastrophes we we don’t do what THEY want. funny, I don’t hear you saying anything about that that isn’t approving.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include morally equating enhanced interrogation techniques to save innocent lives of Americans and others, with that of beheading innocent people. Funny; you never seem to mention that juxtaposition.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include criminalizing policy differences . Time was, when that type of thing was reserved for the third world. I don’t hear you saying anything about that that isn’t approving.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include forcing workers to join unions by means of government, Then having the Lack of conscience to call it ‘free choice’. I see you raising no complaints about any of that.

    On that same note, I think the word “obscene ” to include taking money from those self same unions. I see you raising no complaints about any of that.

    I think the word “obscene ” to include preaching tolerance and yet being totally intolerant of anyone who disagrees with you. Anyone who dares promote conservative thought you immediately pipe up with a level of intolerance that has become legendary around here.

    The damage that the left is done to this country is INC comparable with any other force that we’ve ever come across. I tell you true; there is no force on the face of this earth that is more destructive than the socialism being foisted off as “hope” and “change” just now. Not only is it unconstitutional, but it’s immoral. It is also obscene.

    I could go on, of course, but I’m not going to bother. I think my point made. And in any event, you’re not worth it.

    The moral to this story? If you’re gonna throw down the gauntlet with me, sucker, you’d best be prepared and have me pick it up and beat you about the head and shoulders with it. Because it’s going to happen, every damn time.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Anyone who dares promote conservative thought you immediately pipe up with a level of intolerance that has become legendary around here.

    I guess you have missed the dozens of posts I have written that praise President Reagan. Once of them was written today. Do try harder. And don’t fool yourself into thinking you are a Reagan conservative. He was, in many ways a brilliant man, warm hearted and genial. You are none of these things, and I suspect your hate-filled rambles would disgust him.

    That’s an interesting rant rant you have going there skippy. The difference between me and you is that I hold you accountable for your own words, and you seem to hold me accountable for things other people and things that I don’t say. That that is the best you can do surprises me not at all.

    Our new kitten is attacking my foot as I type. Gotta tell you dude, its a lot more fearsome that your “gauntlet” 🙂