A bit of good news to report today amid the preparations for New Year’s celebrations. Jobless claims fell more than expected last week.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 432,000 in the week ended Dec. 26, the lowest level since July 19, 2008. The four-week average of new claims, which smoothes volatility in the data, dropped by 5,500 to 460,250, its 17th consecutive drop. That was the lowest level since Sept. 20, 2008.
The Labor Department said in its weekly report, released Thursday, that 4.98 million people had been collecting jobless benefits for more than a week in the week ended Dec. 19, a decline of 57,000.
So, the unemployment rate might actually drop…
The Labor Department is to release its snapshot of December’s labor market on Friday, Jan. 8. Economists at Wrightson ICAP predicted in a note Wednesday that the jobless rate, last reported at 10% for November, may have inched lower to 9.9% in December.
Still, to put into perspective how big of a hole we’re in right now…over the past decade we’ve added less than 500K new jobs to the economy.
The Labor Department counts 108.5 million nonfarm private-sector jobs as of November, which is 1.5 million fewer than when the decade began. The public sector added jobs during the decade. But the tally of all US jobs, including government positions, is positive by only 464,000 jobs for the whole 10-year stretch. That’s a big problem for a nation where population has risen by about 27 million residents during that time, according to Census estimates.
464K new jobs and 27 million new residents.
Playing the blame game about who’s responsible for this situation is an exercise in futility at this point, but if the economy starts turning around and we add a significant amount of new jobs to the rolls in the next few years…who do we have to thank for that?