» As goes the country, so go the states: Or maybe it’s the other way around? Well, either way, figures released today by the Department of Labor show that unemployment, in addition to falling to its lowest level in two and a half years at the national level, also decreased on a state-by-state basis in all but seven states. This is promising, as it suggests that the uptick in employment is a nationwide trend, and not the result of, say, five or ten states doing abnormally well for one reason or another. Note: The usual disclaimers about the problems with how unemployment is calculated apply.
youranonsanon says: No *@^! Sherlock, and holiday hiring is why, huge post holiday layoffs can be expected.
» SFB says: Actually … if you hop over to the source article, you’ll see the trend line on new unemployment benefits has largely been declining for months, beyond the holidays. (Minus a couple hiccups, such as a huge jump caused by a Verizon strike.) On top of this, the Department of Labor clearly states the data is seasonally adjusted, meaning that it theoretically shouldn’t be affected by holiday hiring unless there was something out of the ordinary that affected the numbers. In fact, minus the seasonal adjustment, the number of new jobless claims is roughly 70,000 higher. This explanation, which was hinted at in our post, is the more likely one, though even then, this number strictly accounts for new applications, not long-term jobless benefits. — Ernie @ SFB
» However: Don’t get too excited, guys. While the heavily-fluctuating number is certainly better than it’s been in a long time (and the unemployment number is at its lowest level in a long time), the comeback is far from here. Example: During the financial crisis, the U.S. lost roughly 8.8 million jobs; less than a third of those jobs have returned. On top of this, many are still unemployed, and their benefits could run out soon if Congress does not act on the extension for unemployment benefits. Yeah, sorry we have to be such downers, but let’s look in perspective here.
8bitian says: “Bad” and “worse” should be flipped. Somehow I think losing 250 mail-processing centers and 100,000 employees across the board is worse than MY NETFLIX IS SLOW.
» SFB says: Disagree, because, well, think about it this way — if that Netflix is getting to you a day slower, that also means bills will get to people who owe money (and payments will get back) more slowly, paychecks will get to workers more slowly (not everyone has direct deposit), and so on. That Netflix is the tip of the iceberg. It’s a ripple effect that will be felt across the entire economy — especially among older or less tech-savvy Americans. Basically, we’re talking about the difference between infrastructure and engine. A damaged infrastructure is bad, as is the job loss. However, if the engine gets damaged, it has the effect of hurting a lot of other infrastructures far beyond the U.S. Postal Service. And that’s a heck of a lot more dangerous. — Ernie @ SFB
» Political ramifications: The jobs numbers aren’t at a point where people have reason to be dancing in the streets, but cautious optimism is the name of the game. The GOP’s election platform could waver if the numbers get any better. Hence this response from House speaker John Boehner: ”Any job creation is welcome news, but the jobless rate in this country is still unacceptable.” What do you all think?
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