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CNN Money - Initial jobless claims fall to lowest level since 2008


@SkinsGoldPants

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I have an intuitive approach to seeing the improving economy. Drive or walk around my neighberhood and you will see far more Christmas lights and decorations than any time in the past 3 or 4 years. More than a third of the houses are decorated, and a few of them are done up in grand fashion.

All of this speaks to my mind of Consumer optimism. Not only have people bought decorations, they are continueing to pay for their power. This is a far different impression than I have seen lately.

Quick question on the new number: Is this seasonally adjusted? Christmas season is when quite a few retailers will hire extra help whom they will let go come mid Jan.

Quick question number 2: Isn't the magic number 400k for the tipping point towards more jobs created than new people looking? If so, this report is a positive one indeed if it can be kept up. There is a reason analysts look for moving averages rather a single data point.

Still, this report is the makings of a Merry Christmas gift for many workers.

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About 8.8. million jobs were lost in the financial crisis, and as of November, still less than a third of those have been added back.

Plus, the population has also grown during that time.

Math help needed i went to public school sporadically:

If we were using the exact same unemployment numbers as we were in 2007 what would the unemployment really be?

do we do this all the time and this is the first time its been mentioned?

this seems to be an okay site that leans left so it shouldn't be dismissed immediately:

http://mollysmiddleamerica.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-many-jobs-has-obama-created-lost.html

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Yeah, gbear, my personal, anecdotal, economic indicators have been up, too.

Every morning, I take Mom to breakfast at Perkin's restaurant. It's a really busy restaurant. (I've been told that it's supposedly the busiest Perkin's in the chain.) It's across the street from a major hospital (so it gets business from hospital employees, and from people who are visiting the hospital or seeing their doctor or things), and right near the interstate (so it gets a lot of business from travelers).

So, one of my indicators is how busy Perkin's is, for breakfast. If they're busy, then I conclude tha lots of people are traveling, and have money for restaurants, and things.

And their business has been picking up for months.

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Another, equally anecdotal, indicator. I took Mom to Disney for Thanksgiving. And at one time during our stay, I had to have the front desk manager escort me up to one of the restricted floors of the Contemporary hotel (because we were moving to the restricted floor). And he mentioned that their Christmas rush was starting a month early, this year. The two-week Christmas-New Year period is the busiest, and most expensive, period for Disney. (For some reason, they get busy when school's out. Imagine that.) But he mentioned that this year, instead of the hotel being booked solid for the last two weeks of December, that it was booked solid all the time from Thanksgiving till New Years.

Apparently, lots more people taking Disney vacations this year, than previous.

---------- Post added December-22nd-2011 at 11:31 AM ----------

Math help needed i went to public school sporadically:

If we were using the exact same unemployment numbers as we were in 2007 what would the unemployment really be?

do we do this all the time and this is the first time its been mentioned?

We are using the exact same formula to calculate the unemployment rate.

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Jobless claims and unemployment rate are entirely different numbers. Jobless claims reffer to folks who have lost their job that week or month or quarter and who are applying for unemployment benifits... So this number says nothing about folks who are already

out of work which partially is what the unemployment number does. Likewise Jobless claims is not the same as folks who are actually jobless. For many reasons some folks don't apply for jobless benifits, and thus wouldn't show up in this number. Agriculture workers, other seasonal workers, many middle class folks all tend to not apply for unemployment benifits consistantly.

Math help needed i went to public school sporadically:

If we were using the exact same unemployment numbers as we were in 2007 what would the unemployment really be?

We are using teh exact same formula used to calculate the unemployment rate from 2007, but that formula drops people off of the count after six months. The idea is after six months

folks who are unemployed aren't really looking for jobs anymore and thus should not count as "unemployed". A distinction which seemed to make scense in economic good times when

jobs were plentiful, but seems to make less sense today.

do we do this all the time and this is the first time its been mentioned?

It's been common practice for decades to "adjust" the unemployment numbers in such ways. We also "adjust" them to take into account different seasons. In Xmas for example

tens of thousands of seasonal jobs are created and actual unemployment numbers would thus go down. We "adjust" unemployment numbers to diminish or remove this seasonal bias to the

unemployment number... "seasonally adjusted unemployment number"... etc. That's why for example today the unadjusted unemployment number (8.3 end of Sept 2011) was significantly lower than the adjusted number which was still above 9 at that time.

Cause economists wouldn't want to count the Christmas jobs in an indicator meant to help judge the overall health of the economy.

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Quick question on the new number: Is this seasonally adjusted? Christmas season is when quite a few retailers will hire extra help whom they will let go come mid Jan.

Jobless claims aren't typically seasonally adjusted. The number of folks applying for unemployment is what it is. Unemployment number is both adjusted ( Normal), seasonally adjusted (Normal+), and Unadjusted (less often used by modern economimists).

So for example if you hear an unemployment number, it is typically the adjusted number. which is different than the seasonally adjusted number which becomes more important during the holidays. The unadjusted number is not typically given and is rather hard to find.

Today the seasonally adjusted unemployment number is of coarse higher than the regular unemployment calculation, due to seasonal Xmas jobs which the "seasonally adjusted unemployemnt number" trys to filter out..

Quick question number 2: Isn't the magic number 400k for the tipping point towards more jobs created than new people looking? If so, this report is a positive one indeed if it can be kept up. There is a reason analysts look for moving averages rather a single data point..

One would expect the jobless claims to diminish during the holidays. This number in and of itself means nothing.

The dropping of the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 8.6 back in Nov, and even lower in Dec ( it seems) is a good sign. We are stil making progress although modest progress.

---------- Post added December-22nd-2011 at 01:46 PM ----------

except that it is not occurring...yet

instead it is the younger ones dropping out

E-604_Figure_1.jpg

Yes the normal unemployment rate and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate both drop unemployed off the metric after so many months.

Also you are correct that the single biggest contributor to the country dropping from a 9.1 unemployment rate in Oct to a 8.6 in November were people droping out the back door, and not the country adding new jobs.

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except that it is not occurring...yet

instead it is the younger ones dropping out

We already discussed this graph, didn't we?

In 1990, your graph shows that about 30% of the US population over 55 was in the work force (and that would appear to be the LOW point on your graph so giving you the maximal benefit).

In 1990, there were 59,266,437 over the age of 55 and a total population of 281,421,906 million people (that's about 20% of the population). That means there 41,486,506 people over 55 and not part of the labor force.

TODAY, we have 304,280,000 million people, and 74,008,000 million people over 55 (that's over 24%).

Now your graph shows that about 40% of them are in the work force. That means there are 44,404,800 over 55 and not part of the labor force.

Note 44.4 million > 41.4 million.

The percentage of people over 55 and part of the labor force is still SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than other groups AND the increase in that number is off set by the percentage of the population that is over 55, which has been and will continue to increase.

DESPITE an increase in the percentage of people over 55 and part of the labor force, we've seen a net INCREASE in the number of people that are over 55 and NOT PART of the labor force.

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So you agree there is a current increase in the percentage of people over 55 and part of the labor force.

they are not dropping out at the rate expected....the 16-24 olds certainly are

add

are you leaving out what the BLS defines as the labor pool again?

This is not simply percentage of pop.

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So you agree there is a current increase in the percentage of people over 55 and part of the labor force.

they are not dropping out at the rate expected....the 16-24 olds certainly are

Well, I don't know why anybody would say the "expected" rate is the 40 year LOW.

My point is that the there is REAL INCREASE in the number of the people that aren't part of the labor market that is at least partly tied to their age (i.e. they are over 55).

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tell O he needs to work on that falling GDP would ya?

:secret: GDP has gone up every single year Obama has been in office. (The annual rate of increase is 3.7%, compounding annually.)

(Try moving the goalposts to somewhere else. Maybe that will work.)

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funny it didn't improve till the Reps got back the house :pfft:

tell O he needs to work on that falling GDP would ya?

Actually things were improving until the GOP started holding our Government and the world economy hostage. The debt ceiling debacle caused the second biggest dropped in consumer confidence ever recorded. Hurricane Katrina still tops that list.

---------- Post added December-22nd-2011 at 03:42 PM ----------

Yes, that's one factor contributing to the labor force shrinking.

Not yet...it will be the main reason for a shrinking workforce in the coming years.

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:secret: GDP has gone up every single year Obama has been in office. (The annual rate of increase is 3.7%, compounding annually.)

(Try moving the goalposts to somewhere else. Maybe that will work.)

find a new talking point

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/revised-q3-gdp-drops-20-20-misses-expectations-25-2-standard-deviations

Revised Q3 GDP Drops By 20% To 2.0%, Misses Expectations Of 2.5% By 2 Standard Deviations

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I have an intuitive approach to seeing the improving economy. Drive or walk around my neighberhood and you will see far more Christmas lights and decorations than any time in the past 3 or 4 years.

I use exactly the same informal measure, and I agree that the rate and scale of decorated houses is WAY up.

There are a couple of "Christmas Tree Lane" streets in my local area, meaning sections of residential street along which every house gets dolled up to the gills to create a pretty spectacular drive-by experience for the community. In '09 and '10 these lanes were notably dark, some bordering on nonexistent. This year they're back in full.

Judging by the frantic nature of our local package delivery personnel, they're getting slammed too. Over the previous 2-3 years they didn't look harried at all in December. But over the past 2 weeks, FedEx, USPS, and especially UPS guys have been literally sprinting up and down our street's driveways to make drop-offs. Last week some rando was driving down our street at 9pm making Amazon deliveries from the back of a slightly smoking U-Haul truck. He knew none of the house numbers in the dark, and it seemed clear that he was helping out with peak delivery loads. It seems the delivery services are really strained.

Yay! :)

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except that it is not occurring...yet

instead it is the younger ones dropping out

E-604_Figure_1.jpg

Correct.

Younger workers are dropping out in part because they are going back to school for more education. It's not necessarily a bad thing that these people are dropping out of the workforce.

I'll also add people are taking their fate into their own hands, starting their own business. I'm one of these people though I'll also be re-entering the workforce soon (I'll be teaching soon).

Another group that has dropped out of the workforce? Married women, who are figuring it's more worth their time to stay at home with their children rather than look for a job that might not be there.

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