Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unemployment claims up!

Greetings good citizen,

Here we are less than a week after the incredible report by the BLS that the economy only lost 11,000 jobs in the entire month of November. Well, what do you suppose the job loss number was for this week? You’d think it would only be in the 2,500 range, keeping pace with the latest report, wouldn’t you?

I was tempted o shoot in the 2,750 range, which would get us closer to the 11,000 figure but we have to keep in mind that the jobless numbers are ‘improving’ rapidly so I went with 2,500.

How far ‘off’ do you think I was? What we have here in another one of those ‘orphan’ stories that made it onto the NY Times web site but never got picked up by one of the in-house reporters.

So we arrive at tonight’s offering

New U.S. Jobless Claims Rise

Published: December 10, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, but a surprise narrowing in the trade gap in October suggested the economic recovery was becoming entrenched.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance rose 17,000 to 474,000 last week, the Labour Department said on Thursday, after five straight weeks of declines. [Note the spelling of ‘labor’, the reporter on this article obviously isn’t a citizen of the US.]

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims climbing but only to 460,000. A Labour Department economist said claims had been bumped up by seasonal industries laying people off and by applications that had been held back during the Thanksgiving holiday week. [Okay, I can see the ‘holiday lag’ they’re talking about but what’s this ‘seasonal industries’ nonsense all about? Christmas is a month away although most places only hired skeletal crews to supplement their ordinary workers. I can’t put my finger on what a ‘non US citizen’ might suppose about our economy…roadwork never stops, there’s no fishing fleet to speak of…hell they even swing hammers and pour foundations in the dead of winter around here! It may suck to work outdoors in this weather but they do it.]

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the nation's trade deficit in October shrank 7.6 percent to $32.9 billion (20.2 billion pounds). Analysts had expected the gap to widen to about $36.8 billion. [You know this knife has two edges, I’m betting on the side of orders being down rather than exports being up.]

"Overall we are in an environment where layoffs are abating but people who were fired are still having a difficult time in finding jobs. The trade deficit is worth a couple of tenths" for fourth-quarter economic growth, said Tom Porcelli, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

U.S. stock index futures trimmed gains on the claims data, while the dollar fell against the euro.

The labour market, considered the missing link in the economy's recovery from the most crippling recession since the 1930s, is definitely NOT slowly healing. [Its not ‘healing’ at all, there are no jobs] Government data last week showed employers cut a mere 11,000 jobs in November. [Although alternative measures indicate a quarter of a million jobs were cut last month! So the alleged ‘11,000’ figure is deeply suspect.]

In signs that world trade is slowly shaking off the effects of the global financial crisis, U.S. exports of goods and services were the highest since November 2008 and imports the highest since December 2008. [Both positively abysmal months good citizen.]

The smaller-than-expected trade gap is likely to prompt analysts to raise their estimates of fourth-quarter economic growth and is good news for the Obama administration, which sees export growth as an avenue for creating jobs. [Um, wait a minute Slim, who said exports were up…it’s just as likely that imports are down!]

A stronger rise in imports than exports in the third quarter left a wider trade gap, which constrained economic growth in that period. The economy grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate in July-September quarter, ending four straight quarters of contraction.

Even though claims rose last week, applications for unemployment benefits have dropped from lofty levels in March. [Back to ‘fun with statistics’ and some numbers that never get mentioned in the media…the number of working US citizens is roughly equal to the number of working aged US citizens counted as ‘not in the workforce’. Only half of the ‘paycheck peasants’ have jobs, the other half doesn’t…there’s something very wrong with that picture.]

However, they are still holding above the 400,000 level that analysts reckon will signal payrolls growth. [The newspapers are devoid of jobs, there were only nine help wanted ads in the local rag, which has a circulation of nearly a half million households!]

The four-week moving average for new claims dropped 7,750 last week to 473,750, the lowest level since September last year. The four-week moving average, considered a better gauge of underlying trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, has declined for 14 straight weeks. [You’d like to think that the heartless cocksuckers are letting their people keep their jobs through the holiday season, there are some types of ‘bad press’ that are hard to shake.]

"The claims are on a good trend, and the trade number is much better than expected. It's a big plus for fourth-quarter growth forecasts. People will be marking up fourth-quarter growth forecasts after this," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. [Um, why does it seem like Nigel is full of what makes the grass grow green?]

The number of workers still collecting benefits after an initial week of aid dropped 303,000 to 5.16 million in the week ended Nov 28, the lowest level since February.

The decline, however, was largely due to people exhausting their benefits and hopefully moving to emergency unemployment programs.

This was below market expectations for 5.44 million. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 123,500 to 5.42 million, the lowest since March.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the insured labour force that is jobless, fell to 3.9 percent in the week ended November 28 - the lowest since February -- from 4.1 percent the previous week.

So, good citizen, that was a headline you didn’t get to see, not in the NY Times anyway.

You may have noted that this particular story appears to try a little bit too hard to be appealing to the image the US press tries to project. Makes you wonder which former British colony the reporter is from.

You can even imagine the ‘pep talk’ the editor gave the reporter before he turned over the ‘raw’ story. “we want to sell this to the Yanks so make sure it’s ‘upbeat’ as you can eh?”

Yes, the trade deficit has fallen but it more a function of demand being down for imports than it is a weak dollar driving exports, because we export next to nothing…food and a few raw materials, that’s about it.

This is where we need to, er, focus our attention, producing more of what we consume will be crucial to our future survival, screw the dickhead importers!

If we fail to prevent this nation from becoming a Banana Republic it will be our own damn fault because the only way to throw off the noose from our necks is to fight…and make no mistake about it good citizen, we’re fighting for our lives and the future of our children!

Perhaps that is the one factor where this ‘class war’ is most obvious. Their kids will walk into bright and prosperous future, our kids will be forced to fight for their kid’s table scraps…and I ain’t condemning my kid to that kind of fate…

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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