Jobless claims

Economist Dean Baker:

For the fifth week in a row new unemployment insurance (UI) claims came in over 400,000. The number for last week was 434,000, bring the 4-week moving average to 436,750, the highest it has been since November.

This should be real news. There were a lot of explanations for increases in the prior weeks based on administrative issues or the timing of Easter. These factors can explain a one-week jump, but they imply lower claims in the preceding or following week.

At this point, the data are clearly giving a warning of weakness in the labor market. It is also worth noting that many newly unemployed workers will not be eligible for benefits since they have been unemployed for much of the last two years. (Eligibility for benefits is based on recent work history. Someone who was unemployed for 8 months, and then employed at a low-paying job for 4 months, and then laid off, likely will not have an earnings history that qualifies them for benefits.) If ineligible workers generally do not apply for benefits, then 434,000 new claims in 2011 would correspond to more layoffs than 434,000 claims in May of 2008.

3 thoughts on “Jobless claims

  1. Hah, someone FINALLY acknowledges that fact. My 99 weeks ran out somewhere in mid-2010. I got a crappy job working for a 3rd-party for Levi Strauss – it lasted for a few weeks only. I’m not even sure I would’ve qualified for UI, but if I did, it would be next to nothing. Mind you, ‘next-to-nothing’ would mean at least SOMETHING. But I didn’t even try, misplaced ethics that I have.
    Instead, I raided my 401K. In the mean time, the HAMP modification we’d been trying to get since early 2010 was denied all around and if we didn’t come up with some insane amount we’d be foreclosed upon.
    I took out money from the 401K, paid some of our ‘past due’ and then….and then….two weeks before we’d get the official foreclosure notice, I got a job. A real job, paying $24.50/hr – less than what I used to make, but way more than…well, than what I’d hoped for. Instantly we applied again for modification – we got approved again, just a couple of weeks ago.
    My partner just became a 99’er – her UI benefits are up.
    Our Rep in Congress, Barbara Lee (YAY!!!!!!!) is at least standing up for us – I hope my emails have some part in that.
    I hope we’re gonna be ok – I know many people won’t and it scares me. We’re only one step away.
    For the entire focus in Washington to be the (Republican caused) deficit instead of jobs is simply insulting. True small businesses don’t need a tax break – THEY NEED CUSTOMERS!
    Even now that I have a job – I’m grateful that I’m able again, to some extend at least, to bring my business to local businesses.
    I’ve seen and still see, too many close – not because of too high taxes, but simply because of too few customers.

  2. Oh and mind you, neither my partner or me have any health benefits right now.
    I may have a job (hopefully to become permanent!) but if I break a leg tomorrow – we’ll be done.

Comments are closed.