Thursday, April 02, 2009

USA: Initial jobless claims rise to highest level since 1982 = Market Watch + Comment{65BD9F6B-C3FE-45A2-8397-6EC0382429B4}&dist=msr_17


Initial jobless claims rise to highest level since 1982

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch
Last update: 10:50 a.m. EDT April 2, 2009
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose a seasonally adjusted 12,000 in the week ended March 28, hitting the highest level since October 1982, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

These initial claims totaled 669,000, a level that is up 72% from the same period in the prior year. The four-week average of these initial claims increased 6,500 to stand at 656,750 -- also the highest level since October 1982.

The four-week average is considered a better gauge of labor market conditions than the volatile weekly figures because it smoothes out one-time distortions caused by holidays, bad weather or strikes.

For the week ended March 21, the number of people collecting state unemployment benefits reached yet another new record, jumping 161,000 to 5.73 million -- 96% greater than in the prior year. The four-week average for continuing claims also rose, up 163,500 to a record 5.5 million.

Initial claims represent job destruction, while the level of continuing claims indicates how hard or easy it is for displaced workers to find new jobs. The latest claims report shows that finding a replacement job remains difficult.

"Needless to say, these are terrible numbers, especially the continuing claims figure, which really is disturbing," wrote Dan Greenhaus of the equity strategy group at Miller Tabak. "I hope to see some moderation in these weekly figures as we progress through April or we're going to have to get accustomed to monthly job losses of more than 600,000 yet again."
Meanwhile, the insured unemployment rate -- the proportion of covered workers who are receiving benefits -- rose to 4.3% from 4.2%, reaching the highest level since May 1983. The data come from state unemployment offices' reports on actual filings, not a statistical sample or a hunch.

Escalating levels of initial and continuing claims signal prospects of an approaching double-digit unemployment rate, in the view of many economists.

On Friday, the government will report nonfarm payrolls for March, and analysts polled by MarketWatch are looking for about 660,000 job losses as well as an unemployment rate of 8.5%. In February, the economy lost 651,000 jobs, and the jobless rate rose to 8.1%, the highest rate in more than 25 years.

Earlier this week, the ADP employment index reported that the U.S. labor market worsened again in March, as private-sector firms cut 742,000 jobs.

Typically, state unemployment benefits run out after 26 weeks for those who are eligible. Benefits are generally available for those who lose their full-time job through no fault of their own. Those who exhaust their unemployment benefits are still counted as unemployed if they are actively looking for work.

A total of about 1.5 million people were collecting benefits under a federal program that extends unemployment benefits past six months. End of Story

Ruth Mantell is a MarketWatch reporter based in Washington.


Comment: If you have a job you better hold onto it and keep yourself open to looking at a more secure position, though job security is rare in many cases. When it is a recession and other people lose their jobs you might say, "Oh what a pity!" When you lose YOUR JOB that recession looks a lot more like a GREAT DEPRESSION. In fact, in my humble opinion, we are in the throes of a another Great Depression. It is may not now be as bad as the original Great Depression triggered in the 1929 Stock Market Crash, but it is another Great Depression that economists are loathe to admit because they figure that the simple admitting of another Great Depression could drive the stock market even lower and could have negative economic effects.

In many ways, the Obama regime is doing its own version of the New Deal. All of this should at least make people look at the connected reality that we are under the powers of corporate capitalism spearheaded by the bankers and if we think further ahead we can see the merits of one kind of democratic socialism or another. It should be clear that the present economic model simply is not working for the masses!

Now is the time when we need to stick together, to work in unity, to avoid petty small mnded left wing-vs.-right wing schizophrenia and see our common survival interests.

Let us go beyond thinking strictly in terms of race, nation or sexual orientation. It should be clear that there is actually only one race ~ the human race ~ and that there is really no longer any real independent nation when the Amerikan Empire and its imperialism rules the roost. There can be no woman's liberation without man's liberation, without a child liberation and in general there can be no liberation without a strong people's liberation movement that can mobilize the consciousness of the masses.

Stick to the basics, work on your own character defects and walk in a spirit of love, unity and solidarity with others in your day-to-day lives. Help others as much as you can, share with others what you can and think of others in all your relations.

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Education for Liberation! Join Up!
Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta

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