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jobless benefit claims announced March 7, 2013
For the week ending March 2, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, initial claims or unemployment compensation fell to 340,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 347,000, originally reported as 344,000. For the comparable week of 2012, the claims were 374,000; for 2009, in the worst part of the Great Recession, claims for comparable week were 653,000.

The four-week running average, which flattens volatility in the weekly numbers feel to  348,750. That's down 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 355,750. That is the lowest level since March 2008, just four months after the Great Recession officially began.

In both federal and state programs, the total number of Americans claiming benefits for the week ending Feb. 16 was 5,401,893, down 362,275 from the previous week. Of that total, some 1.78 million are collecting federal emergency and extended benefits. For the comparable week in 2012, there were 7,387,649 persons claiming benefits in all programs. That decrease comes in part because people have found jobs and in part because they have exhausted their benefits.

The relatively low level of new claims has sparked optimism in some quarters:

“Every indication we have is that the labor market is beginning to pick up steam,” said Drew Matus, deputy U.S. chief economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, who correctly projected the drop in claims. “It’s all consistent with 2013 being an okay year despite all the fears about what sequestration might mean or Europe might do.”
The data announced today have no impact on the government's monthly job report being released Friday because the Bureau of Labor Statistics closed the books on those numbers Feb. 12.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos Economics, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:09:15 AM PST

  •  That's something. Beats being slapped in the face (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, bear83, Supavash, Churchill

    with a dead mackerel.

    Sure would be nice to see a surge -- something to give hope to the millions of long-term sufferers.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:34:00 AM PST

  •  Now you can see why the GOP is so desperate to (11+ / 0-)

    take 750,000 jobs out of the economy with the sequester. The economy keeps improving. It's not fair! :(  How can a Kenyan socialist be succeeding?

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:35:17 AM PST

    •  Republican hate Americans. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Brooke In Seattle, LMS44

      Repubs want Americans, unemployed, destitute, sick, and dying.

      Or in a for-profit prison, living a long healthy lucrative life fro their campaign contributors.

      I keep awaiting the day when Americans figure this out and choose to hate republicans. THAT will be a great day.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:54:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unemployed/destitute = Work 4 peanuts and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akmk

        Sick/dying means they need to pay more for medical service and both are good for R constituencies (their real ones in big pharma and big biz).

        What is it we don't understand about why they're putting us through this?

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

        by TerryDarc on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:02:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Slow but steady good news so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jiffypop

    far this year.  The sequester may slow down growth, but things do seem to be improving, albeit too slowly.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:43:19 AM PST

  •  Well, not to rain on anyone's parade, but I have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Brooke In Seattle

    heard they are mostly jobs in the "service" sector. Probably minimum wage, no benefits.  Private sector picks up as public sector employees systematically squeezed out.  

    I'm not sure this is such great news.

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:46:10 AM PST

    •  I am certain you are not far off base (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, Supavash

      if off base at all.

      I think the economic Massa's have been really good at creating shitty jobs, not real ones.

      Americans are economically traumatized enough to take shitty jobs and cheer.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:56:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  According to Automatic Data Processing's... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Supavash

      ...report yesterday, 164,000 of the 198,000 newly created jobs for February are in the service sector, which does, on average pay less. The National Employment Law Project has documented that a large percentage of the jobs being created are replacing jobs that paid higher wages and better benefits.

      Nonetheless, this report is talking about fewer people being laid off, not how many are getting job.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:58:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The jobs may be service jobs, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hrvatska, Meteor Blades, TerryDarc, akmk

      but if you're looking for a reason to join the parade rather than rain on it, consider this:

      Every person employed takes one person out of the job market.  Many economists, both liberal and conservative, agree that one of the biggest impediments to wages rising is the overabundance of people looking for work.  When people are employed, fewer are looking for jobs, and tightening of the job market tends to raise wages.

      Of course this is not an ideal way to achieve higher wages, but this economy is so far from ideal for wage earners and there is such a drag on the economy from federal support payments to the unemployed, we will should take heart from even mediocre news.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:09:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  First time claims seem... (4+ / 0-)

    ...so passé.  As a person who has been unemployed so long I don't count anymore I find this info less than exciting.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:46:54 AM PST

    •  You and me both. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darryl House, delver rootnose

      I'll celebrate when there are enough jobs for both of us to be gainfully employed again.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 07:06:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  at some point you reach a plateau (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akmk

      I would imagine.  Long term unemployed are no  longer counted.  And when we reach a "floor" - i.e. the minimum labor force American businesses need to survive in this sluggish economy - then New UE numbers will level out.

      I am looking to the new hire numbers more than UE claims, which seem rather meaningless to me.

  •  Gasoline creeping back to $5/gal (0+ / 0-)

    Americans must be back at work and the price gougers are busy.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:51:59 AM PST

    •  Think worldwide market when you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Supavash

      consider gas prices.  At least three things are currently pushing up crude prices.  One is increased demand, particularly in Asian countries, and despite the recent slowdown in China the increase is not likely to slow anytime soon; the second is Saudi Arabia's decision to slow down production specifically for the purpose of raising the price, and third is the regimen of sanctions put in place by the U.S. and joined by the EU to stop importing oil from Iran until the problem with their nuclear program is resolved.

      Look for increased instability in the market which could cause volatility in prices while restructuring of the Venezuelan government is underway as well.  Keep in mind that Venezuela possesses the largest oil reserves in the world - even larger than Saudi Arabia's - so the country's political stability will be important to oil prices for years to come.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:38:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans will argue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerryDarc

    that this due to the sequester, wanna bet?

    •  It will be interesting to see these numbers over (0+ / 0-)

      the next several months.

      The White House claims 750,000 will lose their jobs between now and Oct 1st.

      So, unemployment new claims should rise about 100,000 per month between now and then.  I predict zero increase.

      •  Not quite. In normal times, the percentage... (0+ / 0-)

        ...of workers eligible for unemployment benefits is about 60%. In these times, when many people have just been rehired and not yet again become eligible of benefits, the percentage is lower.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:23:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But these are government jobs (0+ / 0-)

          They wouldn't have "just been rehired".

          And, even if they are not government jobs, most of these jobs would be in defense related industries that have been doing quite well.

          But.. even if what you say is true.. we should still see some amount in rise of UE numbers of for the next 7 months, if the White House is not simply blowing smoke - which I feel it is.

  •  The economy is clearly performing well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Supavash

    in terms of the raw numbers of job creation and private sector growth.  We would be hitting Clinton era numbers if the public sector was also actively hiring across the board instead of having to deal with sequesters and teabagger governors.  

    Trying to think through how the improved condition of the economy (as compared to 2011) impacts the budget discussions in DC.  My guess it that it means a little less anger and that means less fuel for GOP extremism.  It might explain why GOP Senators actually want to be seen dining with the President.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:27:37 AM PST

    •  During Clinton's term... (0+ / 0-)

      ...20.8 million new jobs were created in the private sector, 22.7 million total jobs.

      Spread over his 96 months in office, that's an average of 236,000 jobs a month, or 216,000 private-sector jobs a month.

      Average monthly private sector jobs created in 2012 was 188,000.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:39:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So if we had more government spending (0+ / 0-)

        it would likely stimulate a multiplier effect that could conceivably get us to that number or even exceed it.

        Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

        by khyber900 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:42:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Our LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE is OVER (almost) (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up! CLIMATE CHANGE: The era of procrastination, half-measures & delays is coming to an end; In its place we are entering a period of consequences!

    by Churchill on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:53:29 AM PST

  •  Gerald R. Ford w/WIN button (Whip Inflation Now) (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up! CLIMATE CHANGE: The era of procrastination, half-measures & delays is coming to an end; In its place we are entering a period of consequences!

    by Churchill on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:53:57 AM PST

  •  New jobless claims are bound to fall. What about (0+ / 0-)

    actual jobless claims? Or folks not working and not eligible to claim anymore?

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