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366,000?

Last week, the improved unemployment numbers were so lovely, even the government didn’t believe them. This week, the reports got even better, and economists still don’t trust ‘em.

For whatever reason, jobless claims haven’t fallen this low since the middle of 2008.

The federal government’s Random Number Generator surprised us twice.

Last week, the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report registered a big drop in new claims, coming in at 385,000. This week, seasonally adjusted initial claims dropped another 19,000 to a total 366,000.

That’s significant in my world, because initial claims totaling less than 350,000 generally coincide with me being very busy.

Job Creation

Does less firing mean more hiring? Possibly so.

For more than a year, The Bureau Of Labor Statistics has reported an ever higher head count for total non-farm payroll

Supporting that, the JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) shows the ratio of job opportunities has also been struggling along in the right direction.

On December 1, ISM (the Institute for Supply Management) reported increases in New Orders, Production, and Employment…

http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm

And on December 15, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its Empire State Manufacturing Survey, telling us that business is expanding. New Orders have turned positive, and shipments are up. Also, it seems that more people are working in New York, although their average work week has been shortened.

http://www.newyorkfed.org/survey/empire/dec2011.pdf

The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) reported that “Small Business Confidence” rose for the third consecutive month in November. They admit the published numbers are puny, but at least they are positive. The membership indicates it is now more likely to invest in capital equipment or to add new employees than at any time in the past three years…

http://www.nfib.com/research-foundation/surveys/small-business-economic-trends

Recruiter’s View

Are these lower unemployment figures reliable? Or is this a seasonal surprise? Or did we merely run out of people to fire?

Certainly, improvements have been creeping into our economy for several months. The consensus of all the reporting agencies describes a genuine, though tenuous, recovery.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce speaks to this timidity in its third quarter survey, concluding that, “Uncertainty Still Grips Small Businesses”

http://www.chamberpost.com/2011/10/uncertainty-still-grips-small-businesses/

I suggest that U.S. employers are more than ready to explode into action.

What drives them back into hiding is the fear of worldwide governmental insanity.

So, presented with improved unemployment figures, I can only say…

That’s very nice. Let’s see you do it a couple more times.

–TD

Posted in Business Climate, Economy, Employment Scene, Market Indicators, Pick.


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