The Labor Department has reported new data for jobless claims.
First-time jobless claims are 456,000 this week, down 3,000 from the
week before, and 6,000 above expectations. The total number of people on unemployment benefits dropped
by 255,000 to 4,462,000, the lowest level since December 2008. Here's
what to make of the numbers.
- The Good News: Total Jobless Benefit Rolls Way Down The Associated Press reports, "The Labor Department says the total unemployment benefit rolls fell by 255,000 to a seasonally adjusted 4.5 million. It was the lowest total since December 2008. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a much smaller drop."
- But New Claims at Sustained
High The Big Picture's Peter Boockvar worries,
"This level remains very elevated at this point in the economic cycle
and still points to a still sluggish labor market."
Job Gains Sluggish Bloomberg's Shobhana Chandra writes, "While payrolls rose for a fifth
month in May, hiring by
companies was less than forecast, underscoring Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s comments yesterday that there will be 'only a slow reduction' in the unemployment rate. Job gains
are needed to spur consumer spending, which accounts for 70
percent of the economy, and ensure a sustained expansion."
- How to Know When We're Recovering 24/7 Wall Street's Douglas McIntyre explains,
"For the jobs figures to start looking better, the weekly claims needs
to get well under that 400,000 mark. So far that is a figure which has
remained very elusive. All of those census workers are probably
throwing off the continuing claims as well."
- Why This Is
Happening The Washington Independent's Annie Lowrey reiterates,
"Starting last spring, weekly initial jobless benefit claims slid
downward. In the past few months, that decline has stopped. Essentially,
the economy is improving but not adding nearly enough new jobs to bring
the unemployment rate down, and if the unemployment rate does not come
down, it slows down the recovery."
- Should We Reevaluate Unemployment Benefits? The Economist looks at the
downside of unemployment insurance. "America’s UI payments are usually
stingier and more short-lived than their equivalents in Europe and
Canada. That is not necessarily a bad thing: it is one reason why
America’s unemployment rate is also usually lower. There is concern now,
though, that repeated extensions of UI may have made unemployment both
higher and longer-lasting."
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