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Initial Unemployment Claims Getting Uglier July 1, 2010

Posted by geoff in Economics.

The Department of Labor released the unemployment claims data for last week, and it ain’t pretty. Unemployment claims went up from 459,000 to 472,000. That means that improvement in the unemployment situations has completely stagnated. See for yourself:

Yep, it just levels off and sits. And let’s take a closeup look at the period since the peak:

Every week that I put this up, that line on the right hand side gets more and more horizontal. From March through October last year, unemployment claims were dropping at 560/day, or about 17,000 per month. Since then they’ve been dropping at 78/day.

That’s about 2500 per month. Piddly. Doodly squat. Hardly worth mentioning. At that rate it will take us 4 years to get back to where we were in 2007. [Ed Morrissey at Hot Air shows that if you just look at the last quarter, unemployment claims are increasing. That means we’ll get back to 2007 levels in, well, never.]

Meanwhile Joe Biden is running around the country chirping, “We have turned this economy around, we have turned this economy around.” I don’t think this administration has realized that the jobs picture isn’t moving at all.

And that’s scarier than the jobs picture itself.

PS. Tomorrow the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the unemployment rate for June. I don’t think it will look very good. Predictions are for -100,000, due mostly to layoffs of temporary Census labor. Whaddaya wanna bet it’s worse than that?


1. Neo - July 1, 2010

Darn good thing that this is “Recovery Summer” or it would be worse LOL

2. WAMK - July 1, 2010

Not only will they be worse, they’ll be “unexpected” to boot. Unemployment is gonna tick up at least .1 for June.

I’ve got 5 people that report to me. One dropped down to part-time, and is now basically an independent contractor. She works 2-3 days a week, mostly 2. One just informed me this week he’s going back to school, and Aug 6 will be his last day. Another is also an independent contractor, and took an unpaid 30 day medical leave 2 weeks ago. The fourth one left Friday to take a position with another company.

I probably won’t fill any of the positions until after the Summer ends. I have it in my budget for 6 full-time, full-benefit people on my team. I’d rather sit on those dollars for as long as possible, travel more myself to handle those clients, than take on new bodies. There are many others in my industry (I sell medical devices) that are doing the same thing.

My Company is in great financial health, has the need and desire to hire, is in a high-demand industry, and isn’t hiring. What about those companies whose current outlook isn’t as positive as mine is?

I’ve been saying for a long time that this is far from over. Too bad there isn’t someone in the White House that has experience running anything.

3. geoff - July 1, 2010

Too bad there isn’t someone in the White House that has experience running anything.

Yeah. If the administration added some real business types to their economic advisory team, that news would do more good than another $200 billion in stimulus spending.

4. Enas Yorl - July 1, 2010

Our fiscal year just ended and we didn’t renew a lot of contractor’s jobs for the next budget year. We just said goodbye to them yesterday. We worked with some of these people for years and were sad to see them go. I dunno how prevalant the July – June fiscal year is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find a lot of municipal agencies do the same and also shed jobs this summer. Of course, it will be “unexpected” to those whose jobs it is to expect such things.

5. Cathy - July 1, 2010

Thanks again, Geoff.

The fugly truth is getting more and more difficult for them to hide with crap like ‘saved jobs’ and census workers hired-let go-rehired-etc…

Hopefully some media-types will finally grow consciences and express some disgust with this– which is about HUMAN BEINGS and FAMILIES — on a level equivalent to how they might report oil drenched pelicans, sea turtle hatchlings, or stranded polar bears.

6. Nan G - July 1, 2010

When I look at these numbers and realize that even people hired by the gov’t/BP to clean the beaches are admitting they only skim oil off the top of the sandy beach instead of digging down and CLEANING it out, I think we are frittering away our present and our future.
This is the sorriest excuse of a ”recovery summer,” I could have ever imagined.

7. geoff - July 1, 2010

Just thought I’d mention that NiceDeb’s got herself a new BFF!!

[Hint. Now Andrew Sullivan’s got another uterus to track.]

8. nicedeb - July 1, 2010


Geoff, you should link to this post from the one you did at my site. How much do you think the back-ended stimulus push is going to help with employment numbers?

9. geoff - July 1, 2010

How much do you think the back-ended stimulus push is going to help with employment numbers?

Not too much. Like the housing tax credit and the cash-for-clunkers program, the brief surge in public works employment will be gone as soon as the money stops flowing in.

This is a point that seems to elude the administration: the point is not to give people money to work. The point is to strategically spend money to get the private sector to give people money to work.

10. lauraw - July 1, 2010

But then somebody might make a profit.

We can’t have that.

11. MostlyRight - July 1, 2010

My wife and I own several rental properties in town, which is a college town. Most of our leases begin/end on August 1st, to take advantage of the new school year and students moving into town. Last year, we saw a reduction in students leasing, as they are living at home or packing themselves in with more roomates. So we rented to more non-students. This year, we have 4 leases ending. The two with non-students informed us today that they will not be renewing their leases as they have lost their jobs. One told us she actually lost her job in Jan but didn’t tell us because she had unemployment the past 6 months…now that has run out. She also informed us that her two adult daughters have moved in with her, but neither of them can keep a job either. She says she hasn’t made any money other than unemployment, and will have to find a smaller place to live. The other says she is stressed out by the situation and is planning on taking a few months off and then start looking for work again. I don’t think either of them are actively looking for work right now. The 2 rentals with college kids are also moving, some moving into smaller places and some moving back home. Our rents are lower than they have ever been since we purchased the properties in the late 1990’s. It’s still getting uglier out there…

Then again, my 10 year old has made several hundred dollars over the past month selling old somewhat broken electronics and used little league baseball bats his friends don’t want anymore on Ebay, and just landed an extra $5 for washing my Jeep this morning. When I told him about our tenant who hasn’t been able to find a job in 6 months, he looked at me and said “Well why hasn’t she started a business?”

12. MostlyRight - July 1, 2010

“The point is to strategically spend money to get the private sector to give people money to work.”

One could argue the Federal government has no business doing the job of lenders and investors, and should simply enact and enforce law and regulate for a fair free market.

13. Cathy - July 1, 2010

MostlyRight, thanks for sharing about your 10 year old son. It’s encouraging to know that some entrepreneurs are figuring out how to make things work in this system. Partly, it’s a gift. But necessity is also the mother of invention. Need and hunger motivate.

I just heard from a friend about someone she knew who had been on unemployment and now that the benefits have run out, admitted they STARTED LOOKING for a job… meaning that this person HAD NOT been looking until they HAD to.

Another acquaintance of mine had to give up her own place and move in with a friend because she is currently without work and can’t pay her bills otherwise. But at least she is thinking and making decisions that keep her paying her bills.

14. geoff - July 1, 2010

One could argue the Federal government has no business doing the job of lenders and investors, and should simply enact and enforce law and regulate for a fair free market.

I agree, but I’m a little more Keynesian than that. I think that by judicious, targeted spending, the government can actually significantly reduce the amount of misery the people have to endure before the economy finally rights itself.

But right now it’s trying to replace the economy with massive spending.

15. geoff - July 1, 2010

…and here’s Nancy Pelosi making exactly that point:

Unemployment benefits are creating jobs faster than practically any other program, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, the House speaker was defending a jobless benefits extension against those who say it gives recipients little incentive to work. By her reasoning, those checks are helping give somebody a job.

“It injects demand into the economy,” Pelosi said, arguing that when families have money to spend it keeps the economy churning. “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”

What. A. Maroon.

16. Michael - July 1, 2010

One could argue the Federal government has no business doing the job of lenders and investors, and should simply enact and enforce law and regulate for a fair free market.

That’s just crazy talk right there. Don’t you know that this is the kind of failed policy of the Bush administration that got us into this mess?

I, for one, do not want the economy turned over to Halliburton again.

17. wamk - July 2, 2010

Got lemons? Make lemonade. Or lobsterade, as the case may be:


This is the kind of small-business thinking that will get us out of this economy.

Not Nancy. Not Obama.

Government can work the best by getting out of the way.

18. MostlyRight - July 2, 2010

That Pelosi and her brilliant mind.

These unemployment benefits are worse than paying some to dig holes and others to fill them. I’m afraid we are in many if not most cases printing, borrowing or taxing money to enable 6 month subscriptions to World of Warcraft. I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about the generation that came out of the Great Depression, and the possibility of our current younger generations coming through this “Great Recession” with some similar positive attributes. I’m told my grandfather attempted to start 17 businesses through the years of the Depression before he finally hit on the one which became the family business that has lasted 3 generations and employed hundreds of people. Neither of us see it yet…we came to an agreement that not enough real pain has been felt. Unemployment benefits and government programs and bailouts have removed that extreme necessity that is the mother of invention. We have falsely “insured” away the consequences of our decisions. The relative simplicity of walking away from an underwater mortgage, mailing in the keys and going on in life with hardly more than several years hit on the credit score certainly isn’t teaching future borrowers too severe a life lesson. This redistributive spending to “reduce the pain” is reducing the instances of life’s hard lessons, which can be more valuable long term than a temporary influx of cash. If the trend line on Geoff’s graph continues to flatten, and unemployment stays flat or worsens, I think we’re going to be feeling that pain for many years yet. In some ways, we may become a better country for it.

19. geoff - July 2, 2010

It will be interesting to see how the people who are finally losing their unemployment coverage finally react. I think last week it was something like 326,000 people lost coverage. Since poor Harry Reid was stymied by the eeeevil GOP, who uncaringly demanded that he fund coverage extensions without increasing the deficit, we’re not going to see coverage extension until July 12 at the earliest. That’s a lot of people who are going to be hurting very badly.

And that’s when we’ll see where the economy really is.

20. Da Future « Points and Figures - July 2, 2010

[…] television gushing about the employment report. The sack that you put stuff in is worth more. The employment picture is not getting […]

21. jeff - July 2, 2010


linked to this blogpost. he is right. the future is not pretty.

22. torabora - July 2, 2010

whew…sure dodged a bullet with that Chillbilly!

23. firstpoppa - July 2, 2010

60 days to go in “The Summer of Recovery”!

24. MostlyRight - July 2, 2010

“This was supposed to be the Summer of George! The Summer of George…”

25. Giggle T - July 3, 2010

I can’t wait for more Census people to get laid off and for all the college grads who can’t find work. This should get interesting. How is the Administration going to spin that?

26. Boskin on Stimulus at Catallaxy Files - July 20, 2010

[…] I recently saw some evidence on the negative impact ObamaCare is having on employment in the US. […]

27. They are so busy trying to give everybody everything that no one will get anything. #economy #collapse « Concise magazine - April 15, 2011

[…] Initial Unemployment Claims Getting Uglier « Innocent Bystanders […]

28. Tips for the President on the #economy « Concise Magazine - August 31, 2011

[…]  Initial Unemployment Claims Getting Uglier « Innocent Bystanders […]

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