The Jobs Market Outlook

This is sort of a follow-up on James’ post on the unemployment figures. The 243,000 new payroll jobs is a pretty decent number as I’ve pointed out before, but for things to be considered really good such growth would be pretty much constant. That is we’d like to see the average number of new payroll jobs around 200,000 to 250,000. We aren’t currently seeing this.

On the other hand, getting one’s underwear in a knot over an increase of 8,000 in the number of jobless claims filed with the Dept. of Labor also strikes me as mild hysteria. Right now the economy looks to be in pretty good shape over all. In isn’t perfect, but then again, when has perfection ever occurred in the economy?

Also, a really honest thing for Reuters to do would be to do something like get the unemployment claims from the last recession and look at those and maybe shock…gasp calculate and average there. Doing such research would tell the reporter that during 2001 and 2002 the average number of jobless claims filed each week was 404,000 (seasonally adjusted). That is about 101,000 more claims than we have seen this last week. Even better is to look at a graph of the data.

Jobless Claims from 2001 through 2/11/2005

Here we see that Reuters is basically getting its underwear in a knot over a slight uptick in the data. Where the heck was Reuters back on 12/10/2005 when the jobless claims hit 331,000 (seasonally adjusted)?

Bottom line is that the jobs market is okay and Reuters in engaged in either stupid reporting or biased reporting (or even both).

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FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Media, , ,
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. ken says:

    Where the heck was Reuters back on 12/10/2005 when the jobless claims hit 331,000 (seasonally adjusted)?

    Where was Reuters?

    Steve, you are an economic illiterate. Reuters reports the numbers as released, then provides a little color commentary on the numbers. Similar services are provided by Bloomberg, Econoday, and Knight Ridder. They do this not for your benefit, but for those of us who pay attention to these things and must make daily decisions in which these numbers factor in.

    You would not understand.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    The commentary was idiotic ken. Making a big deal out of an 8,000 increase when we had much larger increases in the recent past is just stupid, part of the bias inherent in the media or both. Noting the (very slight and probably statistically insignificant) increase is one thing, but talk about it being “the highest of the year” is just silly.

    Something I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

  3. ken says:

    Steve, as long as you continue to look at such things in purely political terms you will never get it.

    Reuters is not reporting for your benefit. Every Thursday morning at 8:30 am ET the initial unemployment claims number is released and reported by Reuters and others for the benefit of those whose decisions are made by taking such numbers into account. They always add some color commentary to make it easier to put the numbers in some perspective.

    You make think, for political reasons, that the observations made are without merit. But people who matter do not make treasury trades at 8:31 for political reasons. It is for people who make such decisions that Reuters provides its service and commentary, not you.

    Having no responsibility of your own to make these decisions, you will never understand.

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    Ken,

    Considering that the bulk of my post is about looking at all of the data and evaluating current data points given historical data, your comment is just dumb.

    Reuters is not reporting for your benefit.

    Non-sequitur.

    Every Thursday morning at 8:30 am ET the initial unemployment claims number is released and reported by Reuters and others for the benefit of those whose decisions are made by taking such numbers into account.

    Irrelevant, my complaint is that they publish the unemployment claims.

    They always add some color commentary to make it easier to put the numbers in some perspective.

    Which in this case was either stupid, biased or both.

    You make think, for political reasons, that the observations made are without merit. But people who matter do not make treasury trades at 8:31 for political reasons. It is for people who make such decisions that Reuters provides its service and commentary, not you.

    Both irrelevant and a non-sequitur.

    Further, I bet the people who do make such decisions also look at more than just these news reports because these news reports are too limited. Is an increase bad news or good? Depends on a number of factors, which in the case of Reuters weren’t included in the article. In about 15 minutes worth of research I found data showing the Reuters article to be of dubious value.

    Having no responsibility of your own to make these decisions, you will never understand.

    Ad hominem and a non-sequitur. Simply because I don’t make trades in a financial market doesn’t mean I can’t understand the importance of having information on the number of jobless claims.

    Good work ken, I haven’t seen that many logical fallacies packed into a comment for sometime now.

  5. ken says:

    Steve, you do not know what you are talking about.

    The unemploymet claims number is released each Thursday morning. The unemplyment rate (big difference, not that you would know) is released, along with non farm payroll numbers on the first friday of each month. (For some reason it was delayed this month)

    Reread your post and you will see that you are getting all upset that Reuters reported an 8000 increase in initial unemployment claims. That was yesterdays news. They added some perspective to the report.

    But you are all upset about it for political reasons. You do not realize just how stupid that is. You are essentially complaining that Reuters is not Fox News.

    Steve, you are a joke.

  6. McGehee says:

    Steve, you are a joke.

    Dammit, there goes another irony meter. When will I learn to turn it off when Ken’s commenting?