BULLETIN: JOBLESS CLAIMS MOVE UPWARD – AT 8:39 A.M. ET: Jobless claims are up, dashing claims about some economic miracle just around the corner. Figures have just been released in Washington. From Bloomberg:
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits climbed last week to a one-month high, showing little progress in the labor market.
Jobless claims rose by 4,000 for a second week to reach 372,000 in the period ended Aug. 18, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 365,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased to 368,000.
Companies may be keeping payrolls lean after slashing headcounts during the recession while waiting for further assurances that economic growth will pick up. The European debt crisis and slowdown in Asia remain headwinds to investor and business confidence.
“It’s still very sluggish, and growth itself is implying we should not see any acceleration in hiring at this point,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report.
COMMENT: The Democrats are desperate to change the terms of the national discussion, shifting from the economy to social issues. Some Republicans, like Todd Akin of Missouri, are helping them. But, I really don't think it will work. It's too transparent, especially as the weak economy is felt in almost every home.
Romney/Ryan should be out on the campaign trail, as they wrap up their tour before next week's Republican convention, slamming the jobs picture and bringing the debate back to where it belongs.
August 23, 2012