MUDDLED ECONOMIC REPORT – AT 8:47 A.M. ET: We mentioned in the post just below that the White House could not take comfort in recent economic reports. Well, it might take some guarded comfort in numbers released this morning, as it braces for a monthly job-creation report tomorrow:
(Reuters) - New claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that could ease fears the labor market recovery was stalling.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, the Labor Department said. That was the biggest weekly drop since early May last year.
The prior week's figure was revised up to 392,000 from the previously reported 388,000. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, edged up 750 to 383,500 - the highest level since December.
The data has no bearing on the government's closely watched employment report for April, to be released on Friday. Employers are expected to have added 170,000 new jobs to their payrolls last month, a step up from March's 120,000 tally, according to a Reuters survey.
However, there is a downside risk to this forecast as initial claims were elevated for much of April. An independent survey on Wednesday showed private employers added only 119,000 jobs last month, the fewest in seven months, and well below economists' expectations for a gain of 177,000 positions.
COMMENT: We'll await tomorrow's report. And always remember that it takes 150,000 new jobs each month just to keep pace with population growth.
Obama doesn't have much time to pump things up before election day. It usually takes months for any new initiatives to work their way through the economy. However, don't be shocked if he makes some major proposals, and that the GOP House turns them down, giving Obama the opportunity to blame "Republican obstructionism" for the economy. He'll also blame Bush and Cheney, with Herbert Hoover thrown in.
May 3, 2012