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jobless claims
For the week ending September 14, initial applications for unemployment compensation rose to 309,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 294,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was considerably lower than the consensus of experts had forecast. It was also lower than any report since September 2007. For the comparable week in 2012, first-time applications were 379,000.

The previous week, originally reported at 292,000, was the lowest since April 2006. But even with the slight upward revision, that week may still be showing lower than it actually was because of problems with computer-system conversions that have caused processing backlogs in California and Nevada. Next week's report should clarify that situation. Nonetheless, applications are still far below where they were a year ago.

During the past 40 years, the best 12-month period for initial claims was August 1999-July 2000 when the weekly average was 285,000. For the 12-month period ending September 7, 2013, the weekly average has been 360,000.

Before the Great Recession, economists had considered first-time weekly claims of 400,000 a predictor of healthy job growth. That measure has been revised downward to 370,000 in the past couple of years.

But now with first-time claims averaging less than 360,000 for the past 12 months and less than 332,000 for the past three months, the growth in jobs has remained tepid. Unless the increase in new jobs starts moving up significantly faster, it has to be wondered just how valuable the first-time claims number really is these days as a predictor.

The four-week running average of claims, preferred by most analysts because it flattens volatility in the weekly numbers, fell to 314,750 for the September 14 week, down 7,000 from the prior week.

For both state and federal emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) programs, the total number of people claiming benefits for the week ending August 31 was 4,037,491, down 235,250 from the previous week. For the comparable week of 2012, there were 5,173,597 persons claiming benefits in all programs.

Total claims are down over last year for three reasons: People previously receiving them have found jobs; they have exhausted their benefits; or, they have left the labor force.

Exhausting benefits is happening sooner for jobless Americans now because Congress cut back the maximum duration an eligible worker can receive EUC compensation from 73 weeks to 41. A few states have cut back their allowable maximum duration from the half-century-old nationwide standard of 26 weeks to 20 weeks or less. Several states have also lowered the maximum weekly benefit workers can receive, and the federal budget sequester has reduced weekly EUC compensation checks by 11 percent or more, depending on the state.

Read more analysis below the fold.

Eric Morath and Jeffrey Sparshott at The Wall Street Journal report:

The downward trend in claims over the past several months shows that businesses are comfortable enough with the economy to retain their current employees. However, hiring has slowed from the pace seen earlier in the year. In August, employers added 169,000 jobs, below the average monthly gain for the year of about 180,000. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3%, largely because the labor force shrank.
In fact, it's a good deal worse than that. For the past three months the average seasonal job growth has fallen to 148,000. If the economy were back to pre-recession levels, that would be considered fairly healthy. But, notes Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute:
According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, if the labor market were healthy, the labor force would number about 159.3 million. But the actual labor force numbers just 155.5 million. That means there are about 3.8 million “missing workers”—jobless people who would be in the labor force if job opportunities were strong. If our 3.8 million “missing workers” were in the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 9.5 percent instead of 7.3 percent.
If that 148,000 average monthly number of new jobs were maintained, because of the need to absorb population growth of working-age adults, it would take until May of 2028 to return to the unemployment levels when the recession began in December 2007.

The chart below shows the first-time applications for unemployment compensation since 2007 with an indicator for when the stimulus under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed just four weeks into the Obama administration:

job benefits claims.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:34 AM PDT.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good analysis. (20+ / 0-)

    And now the Republican machinations likely will slow growth again (debt ceiling, government shutdown).  

    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 Sep 19, 2013 at 07:39:22 AM PDT

    •  Sadly so. n/t (9+ / 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 Sep 19, 2013 at 07:40:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One would almost think (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Eric Nelson, joe from Lowell

      that that is the GOP's objective-- to slow growth, so they can run against the "Obama Economy".  

      One would think that, IF one presumed that these guys (and, let's face it, the vast majority of them ARE middle-aged white guys) actually are thinking that far ahead.  Those that are thinking ahead, realize what a train wreck shutdown/debt ceiling debacle) is.  But, they ain't in the locomotive.  

      With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:51:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the hope of a re-dux of 2010 RWNJ wave (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, alice kleeman

        So Yes, Slow growth to run against the economy plus spite/hatred of the President.

        But there is another thing happening, that is either delusion, inside the bubble misinformation or something else or all of the above

        Just the other day the question was asked of a republican:

         "Don't you realize that the republicans will be blamed for a govt. shutdown?"  

        I worked through his bullshit and his answer was basically;  there is "value" in resentment that it will gin up support from the radical teabagger faction in the party.

        That's it. That was the plan and prediction of result

        Moreover this same RWNJ re-wrote 1994 as a win for the republicans; that the Gingrich govt. shutdown was a win by the right(?)

        Many republicans in gerrymandered safety have abandoned the old ways of supporting their party. The more radical right the better for themselves personally.

        ................................................

        The four Five year effort of slashing of public sector workers to keep unemployment as high as the level of resentment garnered

        Paul Krugman (last year):

        "If public employment had grown the way it did under Bush, we’d have 1.3 million more government workers, and probably an unemployment rate of 7 percent or less."

        It's become a sick kind of choice being made by the right to cause injury and then chase the resentment/cynicism/contemptous vote.

        .............................................................

        So we're still stuck in second gear:

        it would take until May of 2028 to return to the unemployment levels when the recession began in December 2007.
        ..the republivan plan to take power. To Injure for gain.

        It has worked and many are hurt but there has been some good reportin (like this post) and people are realizing it's the GOP that's causing the hurt.

        Thx MB

        rant over

         

  •  This mess was caused by both parties, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, Mr Robert, hmi, alice kleeman

    and neither has taken any effective action to change it.  The banks own them both.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 07:47:14 AM PDT

  •  This should be highlighted (6+ / 0-)
    If our 3.8 million “missing workers” were in the labor force looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 9.5 percent instead of 7.3 percent.
    No wonder no taper.
  •  It means out country is running out of people. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Utahrd

    We need comprehensive immigration reform to get those numbers back up as befits a great country.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 08:17:58 AM PDT

  •  Underground economy (5+ / 0-)

    I have long suspected that the drop in reported "work force participation" may be partly due to people taking up off-the-books jobs. If you put a sign up on a supermarket bulletin board, or use word-of-mouth, to do dog-walking, or house-cleaning, or cut lawns, or do manicures, or baby-sitting, and you're bringing in some money (all cash), you may still answer "no" when some bureaucrat calls and asks "Do you have a job?" But you're also not likely to report yourself as "self-employed" or "running a business." I saw these folks regularly in my former tax office. Some collected unemployment or disability while doing these odd jobs; some simply reported zero earned income, or so little that they couldn't possibly be paying rent.

    And some are earning very good money, working essentially full-time, but cash off the books.

    I do not think the Administration is deliberately cooking the books. But I do have grave doubts about the ability of these methods of gathering data to capture what's really going on. I don't know how you capture the rest, as people tend to give the answers they want to rather than anything resembling the truth.

    •  Those people would be self-employed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, viral

      regardless of whether they report their income on their taxes--they don't have jobs, which is what the employment figures are all about. They don't have employers who pay unemployment insurance and workman's comp, if demand for whatever they do dries up somehow they can't draw even a small check until they find something new, if they get injured while working they are likewise out of luck. It's not the same as having a job.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:57:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  based on jobs added (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jiffypop, TexasTom

    we are on track to pre-recession levels.

    of course that wasn't exactly a booming time.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:06:21 AM PDT

    •  Seriouslly? Is this your "analysis?" (0+ / 0-)

      This appears to be a comment that ignores the information and statistics that are noted in the diary.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:43:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you can call me out Christmas '14 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jiffypop

        if we're not there already, i suspect we'll be close.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:13:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          bob's dinging you on analysis. The guy who has been consistently  wrong on almost every economic prediction by Yves Smith....

          Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

          by jiffypop on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:33:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i know (0+ / 0-)

            you can pretty much count on DOW 16K
            you can pretty much count on unemployment reaching pre-recession levels by end of the 2014, possibly spring of 2015.

            you can pretty much count on a bull market until the next presidential election.

            of course that isn't saying everything will be great. the economy isn't shared equally. those are valid arguments.

            -You want to change the system, run for office.

            by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:52:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  the difference (0+ / 0-)

          We'll have roughly the same number of jobs as the peek in November 2007[based on CE160V and 148k per month, I get 16.4 months from middle of August].

          The difference in opinion is accounting for population growth.

    •  Did you read the diary? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson
      If that 148,000 average monthly number of new jobs were maintained, because of the need to absorb population growth of working-age adults, it would take until May of 2028 to return to the unemployment levels when the recession began in December 2007.
      Just yesterday you predicted we would reach that level in 2014. That would be 14 years earlier.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:01:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On track, certainly. But how long 'til... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, Eric Nelson

      ...we get there is the question. And will there be another recession before we do.

      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 Sep 19, 2013 at 01:24:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what would cause the recession? (0+ / 0-)

        we knew back in '06 that a bubble had formed in housing. it was predicted back in the late 90's that the fancy financial instruments would probably bite us in the ass if not regulated correctly.

        i see growth in many countries that have been recessed. it's coming.

        you can't hold down this multi-trillion economy for that long.

        we do need to reverse the divide but is there good reason to believe the divide today (or tomorrow) will cause another recession?

        just looking at the chart and predicting the same numbers as this year, which were not that good, we should be back to pre-recession unemployment by the end of next year.

        Spring 2015 might be closer to early 08 numbers if that's what you're looking for.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 01:56:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see the problem. You're not taking into ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, JVolvo

          ... the number of jobs that would have been created during the past nearly six years. That's the jobs deficit EPI keeps referring to. Right now, that deficit is 8.3 million jobs. To get back to where we were pre-recession requires eliminating that deficit. Right now, it takes 90,000 to 100,000 jobs each month just to keep up with the growth in the working-age population. So, you have to add that to the total. That's why we won't be back to pre-recession unemployment levels in 15 months.

          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 Sep 19, 2013 at 02:07:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah we had a global recession (0+ / 0-)

            based on the unemployment chart, we'll back to the same number at the end of 2014, beginning of 2015.

            what do you expect with debt fueled growth the past decade?

            -You want to change the system, run for office.

            by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:12:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is that the "same number" ISN'T... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alice kleeman, Eric Nelson, JVolvo

              ...back to the same unemployment level.

              And, yes, debt and bubble financing is a major issue.

              The situation is that we have had an acute economic crisis over the past six years that exacerbated the chronic economic problems that we've had over three-to-four decades depending on how you count.

              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 Sep 19, 2013 at 02:18:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the bump in people having to wait to retire (0+ / 0-)

                will smooth out.

                the chart shows we will get back to pre-recession levels by end of next year, possibly spring 2015.

                -You want to change the system, run for office.

                by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:24:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The liberal Economic Policy Institute disagrees... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Eric Nelson, JVolvo

                  ...with you. The centrist Hamilton Project disagrees with you.

                  Just to get back to 4.7% unemployment as its was in November 2007 with the same number of people who work in the labor force then will take us until November 2017 at the most recent three-month monthly average of new jobs being created. But that does not take into account the addition or working-age adults added to the economy since then and between now and 2017.

                  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 Sep 19, 2013 at 02:48:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  .....but...but..... Benghazi, Death Panels, Kenya! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, Eric Nelson
    Total claims are down over last year for three reasons: People previously receiving them have found jobs; they have exhausted their benefits; or, they have left the labor force.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:53:48 AM PDT

  •  Is there a chart for U6? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Layoffs stopped being a problem a year ago (0+ / 0-)

    Hiring, OTOH, especially when it comes to decent paying jobs, is still a problem.

      It's time we started focusing on different metrics.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:56:40 AM PDT

    •  I should have read closer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson
      Unless the increase in new jobs starts moving up significantly faster, it has to be wondered just how valuable the first-time claims number really is these days as a predictor.
      You already covered this point.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 11:58:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It always seemed to me obvious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, viral

    that with so many of the jobs created in recent years being part time or temporary, the percentage of workers eligible to collect unemployment is dropping and it only makes sense that there will be fewer new claims for unemployment. The smaller share of the working age population in the workforce also means fewer potential claims.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 12:01:27 PM PDT

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