Thursday, February 16, 2012

348K new people on the dole is good?

OK, I admit it. I am not an economist, even though one of my college majors was economics. Today's initial unemployment claims report said that 348,000 people filed for help. And this is good?

Look, I am a technical analyst and I understand the concept of trend. Yes, the trend in this data is down and that is good. No argument. But let's think about this.

First, do I understand this correctly? This is a report of people getting a government check for the first time, right? Not the total number of people on the dole but only the new ones? It seems to me that the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed goes up on any positive initial claims report. If it falls to 1 then the ranks of the unemployed go up, not down.

I got this from Time Magazine - "The consistent decline indicates that companies are laying off fewer workers, and hiring is likely picking up further."

Again, laying off fewer workers means they are still laying off workers. What am I missing?

Is there some sort of "initial employment" report showing how many people finally found jobs? Maybe that is the dark matter in all of this confusion. Fewer people losing jobs combined with more people getting jobs could end up as a net positive.

But it seems to me that corporate layoffs kill more jobs in one fell swoop than all the noodling around by 50 green jobs at a favored solar facility and two new hires at Mel's diner.

Last week, Pepsi said it would lay off 8700 people.

And here is a Feb 2 story - Planned job cuts in January climbed 28% to 53,486.

Somebody needs some lessons in math.


VN69 said...

Sorry I can never go there again with government numbers anyway. Odds are somewhere way down in the goobledegook they've simply changed the way they figure it or even more likely just somehow 'forgot' to add a few in.
Nobody will ask even days much less a generation later just how the 'unknown' part actually happened.
Most likely 348k doesn't mean anything anyway.

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