Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekly claims update

Weekly unemployment claims have ticked up in recent weeks, but this is likely part of the normal signal-to-noise ratio that comes with this series. On an unadjusted basis, claims are down 5.5% from a year ago; on an adjusted basis, they are down almost 9%, and both those figures are consistent with the declining trend we have been observing for some time now.

The number of people receiving unemployment compensation is down 16% (almost 1.2 million) in the past year, and this is significant. On the margin, fewer people receiving unemployment benefits means more people are working and more people have a greater incentive to find and accept jobs.


brodero said...

The pace of the decline of the 52 week moving average of Non Seasonally
adjusted jobless claims has slowed
( down 353 this week) but the direction is still downward. There appears to be some increased jobless
activity in the New York and New Jersey area...other areas are still
moving southward

marcusbalbus said...

when wil it all end? when will we have a real recovery, a healthy economy with opportunities and vision, and no need for you to cheerlead? where will it come from? we've been at this for four years now.

brodero said...

It is going to a long road,,,look at the postponable purchases to GDP ratio...we have come off a 65 year low and we are slowly improving but we are improving...this ratio was way too high in the past ( especially in the 1997 to 2007 era)

Anonymous said...

Nomura says it's an issue with the seasonal adjustments.

I wonder if there's some new phenomenon going on where companies are increasing layoffs after Q1 ends?

In response to brodero's comment, I also noticed Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago had a big spurt of layoffs. I wonder if crashing natgas prices, which is slowing down drilling in the Marcellus shale, is working its way through the rest of the PA economy?

Benjamin Cole said...

Still, there are signs the economy is weakening. The Fed should be proactive, and start hard into QE, a program that has been successful when tried. Instead, the dithering, feeble Fed will wait until recession, and start with QE then.

John Taylor, GOP solon and arch-conservative, has written--indeed, gushed--about the success of QE in Japan.

Lately, John Taylor has written a positive book review for a book that advocates use of QE.

Interestingly enough, even Krugman is coming around to QE.

Krugman and Taylor may get married at the altar of QE.

brodero said...

Isn't John Taylor Romney's appointment to head the Fed??

Squire said...

The problem isn't that there isn't enough money supply. The problem is too much debt. That is, people & companies are tapped out. And the problem is too much bad debt.

Could it be possible to force 6% inflation while freezing government spending at all levels? Soon, private sector debt would be reduced significantly while governments debt doesn't increase.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Big jump in the y-o-y increase in intermodal rail traffic last week.

Up 6%

The previous week, intermodal had only been up 1.6%, which had been typical for the previous few months.
Up only 1.6%

I actually saw that coming when I noticed a huge increase in container imports in the ports of LA and LB for March. It probably takes a few weeks to clear out the containers sitting on the docks.

Carload traffic still down y-o-y, but as has been the case the past few months, low demand for coal explains much of that.

Benjamin Cole said...

On Romney's Fed picks:

"Asked in October who he would pick, Romney said he had made no decision, but then suggested his top two economic advisers - Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia University's business school, and Harvard professor Greg Mankiw - would be good candidates.

Among other names that have surfaced as possible Bernanke successors should Obama lose the White House are Stanford economics professor John Taylor, an outspoken critic of the Fed's aggressive easing; Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein, who advised President Ronald Reagan; and Lawrence Lindsey, one of President George W. Bush's economic advisers."

The problem is that John Taylor has both praised and criticized QE---and Romney has said everything on both sides of every issue (and sometimes even third and fourth sides of every issue) so who knows what a Romney-Taylor combo would bring.

My guess is that John Taylor would print a lot of money if he was Romney's Fed chief.

Ain't no GOP'er going to cry about inflation when Romney is on office.

Remember what Burns did for Nixon.

Daniel said...

I personally know more people that have lost their jobs these last 6 months, than I did in all of 2008-2009.... jusy sayin'

Donny Baseball said...

I know Hubbard. He wants TreasSec. Taylor could be Fed Chairman. Taylor wants "rules based" Fed policy and not the guessing game we have now.

Benjamin Cole said...


Market Monetarists also want rules-based Fed policy.

But Taylor can devise a rile that will be more bullish, and aggressive for growth.

The original Taylor Rule, as devised, would call for interest rates at negative four percent. Taylor would probably call for aggressive and sustained QE, once Romney was in office. If a war was started, it would be easy.

In addition, any rule is based upon coefficients and estimated GDP. If GDP is estimated to be growing slowly, then you get more monetary growth.

BTW, you should check out these clips for how the GOP reacts to tight money policy when they are in office. They nearly skinned Volcker, and sought to take Fed policy into the White House.,8412282&hl=en

This was the Reagan White House in 1984, when inflation was just under 5 percent, more than double where it is now.

Listen, when the GOP takes over, the new mantra will be "deficits don't matter," and that the Fed needs to "get America going again."

I hope it happens, actually.