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The 2010 Stagnation of Initial Unemployment Claims April 15, 2010

Posted by geoff in News.

Despite claims from the press and administration that the unemployment situation is getting better, what we really see from the initial unemployment claims data is no progress at all for the last 4 months. Today the Department of Labor released the latest claims numbers, which showed an . . . (wait for it) . . . “unexpected” jump in claims.

It truly was unexpected: the prediction was that claims would drop by 20,000 to 440,000. Instead they climbed by 24,000 to 484,000.

So let’s look at where that puts us:

Embiggen me!!

What you see is that the number of claims was steadily declining until about December 2009. Ever since then, we’ve just been oscillating around 450,000 – 460,000 claims per week.

No progress at all.

And what was it that happened in December 2009? The only thing that comes to mind is the passage of the Senate’s health care bill.

I’m just sayin’.


1. Pupster - April 15, 2010

Laser-like focus on Jobs.

Laser. Like.

2. scottw - April 15, 2010

Steve Jobs

3. Pupster - April 15, 2010

Shovel-ready jobs.

4. Pupster - April 15, 2010

Jobs ‘mericans won’t do anymore.

5. Michael - April 15, 2010



6. skinbad - April 15, 2010

President Clinton had a laser-like focus there. That’s for sure.

7. Pupster - April 16, 2010

Yob! Yob! Where’s my Yob?!?

/Looney Tunes

8. geoff - April 16, 2010

I didn’t think the main point of this post came through very well yesterday, so I did a (hopefully clarified) new version at my old site. I think the chart there is much more clear than the one I used here.

The point I’m desperately trying to make is that for the past 6 months the initial unemployment claims data hasn’t budged, except for the worse. So all the flap about it showing signs of recovery is nonsense.

9. geoff - April 16, 2010

Maybe I just made it too complicated: I should have just shown the data on the newer version of the chart (without the quotes) and had a title like: “Is this what recovery looks like?”

Yeah, that’s what I should have done.

10. geoff - April 16, 2010

Two more things: 1) I’d be happy to post it here, but I didn’t want to step on the current posts; and 2) I believe that this chart is only slightly less damaging to the Obama administration’s credibility than The Chart was. Basically it says that the administration’s message of slow but inexorable improvement in unemployment is BS. We’re still sinking.

11. Pupster - April 16, 2010

‘Jobless recovery’ is the new ‘malaise’.

I was driving through Virginia last week on Interstate 77. There was a green sign with white letters that indicated I was entering ‘Virginia’s Technology Corridor’. For the next 4 miles I saw nothing but old farms and empty landscapes. It reminded me of this administration’s claims about the economy.

Calling bad news good doesn’t change anything on the ground, it makes things worse.

12. geoff - April 16, 2010

‘Jobless recovery’ is the new ‘malaise’.


13. medic - April 16, 2010

Especially when you subtract the 48,000 temporary jobs that the census created during the month of march, with another 600,000 to 700,000 temporary jobs being created over the next two months.

Do you think that when the jobs are over, and the former employees of the census will be counted in the unemployment numbers then? Will they then be eligible for another 106 weeks of unemployment?

14. Cathy - April 16, 2010

Good news, Geoff.

Printed up 100 4×6 index cards showing the March numbers on the infamous ‘Unemployment Rate With and Without Recovery Plan’ and handed all of them out at the Tea Party event last night.

Bunch of folks recognized it…

15. geoff - April 16, 2010

I still haven’t done the latest update. At this point I guess I’ll just stall until May.

16. lauraw - April 16, 2010

Bunch of folks recognized it…

Holy Cow.
Geoff, you are a Soopahstar!

17. Michael - April 16, 2010

I trust y’all have noticed that the entire Tea Party movement only took off after Geoff started putting out The Chart.

18. geoff - April 16, 2010

I trust y’all have noticed that the entire Tea Party movement only took off after Geoff started putting out The Chart.

…and it really got going once I signed Cathy’s coffee mug!

19. Cathy - April 16, 2010

If I had brought 300-500, they would have all been gone.

Getting handouts can be a drag, but most folks were thanking me.

Common response: “Kinda makes it obvious he’s lying to us, huh.”

20. daveintexas - April 16, 2010

ooooo I need a signed mug!

I have the mug.

21. wamk - April 16, 2010

When are you going to update The Chart? 9.7 for March. C’mon, I need material for posts on my blog!

22. Michael - April 16, 2010


Geoff is a victim of his own success. Randall Hoven from American Thinker said the same thing here in a comment thread earlier this month.

Geoff is being taken for granted. He’s just the dirty dirty little whore of the American right wing, feeding their lust for charts. They use him and then toss him aside, like a leftover bagel in the conference room that went stale, until the next release of BLS stats.

23. Michael - April 16, 2010

I think we should have a Geoff Appreciation Day, where we all thank Geoff for giving America a chance to save itself from ruinous debt.

24. Michael - April 16, 2010

I’m only half kidding. Cathy was serious when she said that a lot of Dallas Tea Partiers yesterday recognized The Chart. I’m sorta serious when I pointed out that The Chart has been seen by millions online, and preceded the inception of the Tea Party movement which now has the Dems scared shitless. The Chart was a brilliant, intuitive encapsulation of the folly of Big Government.

I personally don’t think the Dems are scared enough. In the insular, self-righteous, and narcissistic world inhabited by Obama and Pelosi, I don’t think they can see the beast they have aroused. (Reid is getting the message in Nevada.) My personal prediction is that they will get pounded in November beyond all expectations.

The polls ask questions like are you “strongly leaning” one way or the other. They don’t register people whose real attitude is “rage at the D.C. corruption machine, and buying ammunition in case this country collapses.”

These are people like Cathy, who read books by Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and so forth, and she buys ammunition, and becomes a Republican election judge, a Tea Party coordinator for our zip code, and a board member of the Irving Republican Women’s Club (which actually has some clout around here), and we’re having meetings in our home that the Dems have no idea are going on. They are plotting how to take the Irving City Council.

She is doing this because she is afraid for our children.

25. Michael - April 16, 2010

I mean, how the fuck did this happen?!?

A well-spoken and charming empty suit community organizer from Chicago, connected with a racist church, Bill Ayers, and ACORN, becomes a freshmen Senator and then President in a few years.

I actually blame the RINOs for this more than anyone else. The Republican Party stopped standing up for anything. They were sorta like — let’s just slow down the growth of Big Government. Our people in D.C. got brain-addled by the importance of being included on the invitation list to the significant Georgetown cocktail parties. They forgot that Arianna Huffington is not really important to them.

That’s why the Tea Party rage is venting against Republicans as much as Democrats. Democrats are at least running true to form; Republicans are often perceived as traitors.

Both of the Republican Senators from Texas are on the Tea Party hit list if they don’t get their shit together. Cornyn is suspect but less objectionable than Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is definitely in the crosshairs. The Tea Partiers ain’t gonna let her be governor, and she’s going to have to earn some cred to hold her Senate seat.

26. geoff - April 17, 2010

I think we should have a Geoff Appreciation Day, where we all thank Geoff for giving America a chance to save itself from ruinous debt.

Some sort of wanton, licentious, bacchanalian fete, no doubt?

27. Michael - April 17, 2010


Sounds good to me. We should definitely have pie.

28. xbradtc - April 17, 2010

Part of the problem with RINOs especially, and the GOP in general, was the attitude that they were smarter than the Dems and could do a better job of running the country via the legislation.

That flies in the face of what is supposed to be a core value of the GOP and the conservative movement that says that NO ONE can effectively legislate all aspects of the lives of 300 million people. They, like all legislators, succumbed to the idea that doing something was preferable to just getting out of the way.

29. Cathy - April 17, 2010

Some sort of wanton, licentious, bacchanalian fete, no doubt?

*won-ton licorice broccoli pate ?*

30. geoff - April 17, 2010

*won-ton licorice broccoli pate ?*

I can see that Geoff Appreciation Day is going to be a little underwhelming.

31. sandy burger - April 17, 2010

I actually blame the RINOs for this more than anyone else.

If they’d enacted a few simple market-based health care reforms back when they controlled the Whitehouse and both houses of Congress, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It would have been easy and it would have been popular.

32. sandy burger - April 17, 2010

I can see that Geoff Appreciation Day is going to be a little underwhelming.

Here at IB, every day is Geoff Appreciation Day.

By the way, diamonds instead of triangles? Yeesh. Who taught you how to graph?!

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