Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stunner: Unemployment Claims Jump 'Unexpectedly'

It's comical how every story about job losses always calls it unexpected, with pointy-headed experts baffled by the news. Maybe someone can ask Professor Obama about this grim news today during his six-hour lecture to Republicans.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week as heavy snows caused layoffs to rise.

In addition, many state agencies in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions that process the claims were closed due to the storms and are now clearing out backlogs, a Labor Department analyst said.

The department said Thursday that first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 496,000. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a drop to 455,000.

Bad weather can cause job losses in construction and other industries sensitive to weather.

Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of the pace of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers.

The four-week average, which smooths volatility, rose by 6,000 to 473,750.

The four-week average has risen by about 30,000 in the past month, raising concerns that job cuts are continuing. Initial claims had fallen sharply over the summer and fall but the improvement has stalled since the year began.

The economy has grown for six months but is not yet spurring new hiring. Many economists point out that the current recovery is weak compared to the aftermath of previous deep recessions.
Obama practically tripped over himself rushing to his TelePrompter to announce the unemployment reduction to 9.7%. Let's see how fast he or his spokesthing Robert Gibbs trumpets this news.

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