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Continuing unemployment claims keep setting new records

Apart from a recent spike owing to auto industry layoffs, new unemployment claims have been declining for several weeks now. This is one of the “green shoots of recovery” frequently cited in the past month-plus.

A slowing in the rate of job loss is all to the good, but it’s less often noted that the number of continuing unemployment claims keeps setting new records each week–16 of them in a row, in fact, as the AP reports this morning. So even if the economy is shedding jobs more slowly, it shows no sign of beginning to reabsorb the millions already displaced. Once you’re out of work, you’re likely to stay that way for a long time.

If the rate of new job losses keeps trending down, eventually the continuing claims numbers will start to decline as well merely as a function of people exhausting their benefits and falling off radar. But that’s hardly good news either.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 05/21/2009 - 02:52 pm.

    Just wait until hospitals and nursing homes and who knows what-all will have to shut down because of Governor No’s refusal to save Minnesota by allowing increases in income tax on the upper tier of Minnesota earners.

    To do so, says our Tim, would be a Job Killer.

    Irony? Tragedy? Satire?

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/21/2009 - 04:44 pm.

    All the more reason to pay more attention to the more comprehensive U6 number, although even U6 is not going to track everyone who falls off the unemployment rolls.

  3. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 05/22/2009 - 06:32 am.

    Well so far the may initial claims would be consistent with about a 550K fall in payroll employment for May, effect on UE rate (U3) would depend on how many discouraged workers get lured back into the workforce (would not affect U6) but seems to me to be pointing to about 9.3% or so.

    Already above the low point of the Fed central tendencies for UE at the end of the year between 9.2% and 9.6%. Seems those projections from the April meeting were a bit on the optimistic side.9.3% in May.

    If state and local layoffs offset massive federal-level deficit spending. Shooting past 10% by fall 2009. Should be an ugly, ugly Christmas.

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