The Jury Talks Back

1/14/2010

Past perfromance is no indicator of future results

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 7:25 am

New jobless claims rise more than expected.

Really?  Who, pray tell, is the retarded dimwit who sets the expectations, and how is it he (or she) can’t grasp a simple concept?

Businesses that aren’t sure of the future a) cut costs where they can (including letting workers go) and b) don’t hire new people (a problem compounded by the increased cost because of minimum-wage hikes).

The current administration is – as far as I can tell – doing everything it can to keep businesses guessing as to the future.  The latest plan to tax banks is just one example – and be sure about this – unless the government passes laws preventing changes in fees, penalties and the like, this tax will be passed on to you and me.

And really, this isn’t even the half of it.

It gets worse.

Crudele explained: “When the Labor Department puts out the January employment figures on Feb. 4, they will include an assumption that a lot of companies went out of business.

“This is something called the birth/death model that is used by the department. Last year it caused 356,000 jobs to be subtracted from the January job count… Nobody in the media will pick up on this, but the Labor Department will also do something called a benchmark revision on Feb. 4 that will subtract around 840,000 jobs that the government thought existed, but really don’t.”

356,000 jobs here, 840,000 jobs there and pretty soon you have 1,196,000 more unemployed than advertised.

Oops.

That would change that 10.0% to 10.8%.

So Feb 4th will see an .8% spike in unemployment.  That’s without a single new layoff, something I think is very unlikely.  It’s also before you start counting the number of people who have left the job-market completely or are under-employed (those who have a part-time job, but need/prefer full-time).  We’re looking at 17.3 now, so assuming .8% is ALL we lose, we’re staring at 18.1% unemployment.

But let’s go back to the new jobless claims.

Claims have dropped steadily since last fall, as companies cut fewer jobs, raising hopes that hiring may increase soon. Initial claims have dropped by nearly 90,000, or 17 percent, since late October. Two weeks ago, new claims dropped to their lowest level since July 2008.

The problem here folks is that just because fewer people are getting fired, it doesn’t mean that things are improving, or even stabilizing.  All it means is that companies can’t find anyone else to fire – if they could, they would.

To paraphrase Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-8) (D) to his fellow Democrats: “We’re screwed”.

h/t (as is true for most of my posts) – Glenn Reynolds

2 Comments

  1. There’s plenty of information when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its data, but it’s one of those you-have-to-scroll-down to find it. Of course, I looked, and noted that, while the official unemployment rate was unchanged in December from November (both 10.0%), the “Civilian Labor Force,” the total of employed and officially unemployed people declined by 661,000; there were 589,000 fewer people employed, but also 73,000 fewer people unemployed, because that’s (roughly) how many quit looking for work. In the meantime, the “Not In Labor Force” category increased by 843,000 people.

    Comment by The Dana who reads the fine print — 1/14/2010 @ 2:56 pm

  2. the paragraph about rising inventories was amusing. they tried to make it seem like a good thing, that businesses were optimistic and stocking more goods, when the more likely explanation is that product is still on the shelf because of the drop in sales…. i guess its all in what message you’re trying to push as a “reporter”, eh?

    Comment by redc1c4 — 1/15/2010 @ 12:38 pm

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