Last Friday, we poked fun at a media establishment that continues to feign shock every week the jobless claims fail to improve. A week ago, headline writers were apparently stunned that claims spiked to 479K. In this vein, yesterday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) must have really knocked these guys for a loop. Not only did the most recent claims come in… wait for it… “unexpectedly” high at 484K, but last week’s report was revised up to 482K.
As such, current claims are now at the highest level since February. Worse still, the four-week average is now 473½K and is at the highest level since November!
It is now 58 weeks since the recession allegedly ended last summer, but in that time, weekly unemployment insurance claims are averaging 490K. During this recession (12/07 to 6/09) weekly claims were actually lower, 478K and claims in the 58th week of the “recovery” are 153% greater than the average, 320K, of the 58 weeks preceding this recession.
Add to this last Friday’s monthly nonfarm payrolls report. While there were some threads of hope in the headlines, the overall picture is still a jobs market that is improving glacially… and that’s being optimistic.