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October 07, 2010

Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

...or am I really seeing a positive trend in unemployment numbers for the first time in almost a year?

The Department of Labor released the weekly initial unemployment claims data this morning: claims dropped a bit, from 456,000 last week (adjusted up from 453,000) down to 445,000. Here's what that looks like on a chart that runs back to the pre-Pelosi era, when unemployment claims ran about 325K/week. Thanks, Nancy!!


So where do I see a positive trend? Well, if you pretend that we have a 7-day work week, then people are filing about 65K claims per day. We want to get back to around 45K per day. So the question is: how fast are the filings dropping every day? I.e., how long will it take us to get down to pre-Pelosi numbers?

Back in the first 3/4 of 2009, the number of filings was dropping at about 500 to 600 per day. After mid-November 2009, however, the filings stopped dropping so quickly. In fact, they barely dropped at all.

But, if we take a closer look at the data, here's what we see:


People have been talking about "green shoots" for over a year, but that talk has been meaningless in the face of the huge numbers of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and unemployed, none of which have improved much, if at all. This is the first promising employment trend I've seen in the past year, and I think it's real.

Why now? Businesses have been holding their breath for 2 years, wondering what the business environment is going to look like under the Obama/Reid/Pelosi triumvirate. The November elections will probably result in gridlock at worst and a favorable business environment at best. So businesses are finally exhaling, preparatory to a big, honking, gasp of air.

I'm starting to believe that Santa will be bringing us the Tickle-Me Recovery Doll that we've always wanted.

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posted by Geoff at 10:49 AM

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