Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jobs? What Jobs?


[click to enlarge]

Unemployment claims do their pogo-stick thing.

The Labor Department just reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to 474,000, a number not seen since last August. Furthermore, last week's figure was revised upward from 429K to 431K. Upward revisions have been the norm, so this week's eye-popper could end up even higher. The bump was attributed largely to "temporary" layoffs in the auto industry, where domestic manufacturers (particularly GM) spent the first quarter of 2011 stuffing channels. Just how temporary depends on how quickly that inventory moves off dealer lots.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims climbed to 431K, the highest since November. The average had dipped under 400K late this winter, leading to hopes that the economic recovery in the U.S. might be self-sustaining. Today's number puts a damper on that thinking. Look for confirmation in tomorrow's monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While you're waiting, consider the structural trends demonstrated by these two graphs:

From Zero Hedge:

[click to enlarge]

From Calculated Risk:

[click to enlarge]

[update, 05-06-2011:]

This morning's BLS release shows an upside surprise of 244,000 nonfarm jobs added in April, at least according to the Establishment Survey. But the Household Survey tells a different story. According to Table A-1, there were 190,000 fewer people employed in April compared to March. And Table A-8 tells us that there were 210,000 more part-time workers in nonfarm industries. McDonalds may be hiring, but is anyone else?

More on McJobs here.

No comments: