JOBLESS CLAIMS DROP, BUT ARE STILL HIGH – AT 8:39 A.M. ET: There was a drop in jobless claims over the last week, according to the Labor Department, but the figures are still high, and don't bode well. From Bloomberg:
Fewer Americans filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week as the seasonal volatility at the start of the quarter wound down.
Jobless claims decreased by 23,000 to 369,000 in the week ended Oct. 20 from a revised 392,000 the prior period, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop in claims to 370,000.
Averaged over several weeks, the pace of firings has been little changed, indicating payroll gains are being restrained by a lack of hiring. The data signals employers are seeing enough demand to maintain existing staffing levels even amid growing concern about a slowing global economy and the looming fiscal cliff of tax increases and government spending cuts that will take effect in 2013.
“In the immediate term, we’re likely to be in a holding pattern because of the fiscal cliff,” Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, said before today’s report. “I would think some of that uncertainty would dissipate and be consistent with improving jobs prospects.”
COMMENT: But there will be no jobs progress before the election, and that is the immediate fact. Most Americans are feeling no "recovery," however this administration defines the term. Jobless claims have hovered at this level, or been higher, for several years now.
October 25, 2012