U.S. Jobless Claims Drop To Match Lowest Point In Four Years

More signs of an improving labor market have arrived, as the Labor Department released new figures showing that claims for jobless benefits are matching the lowest level in four years.

Claims ending the week of March 10 fell by 14,000 to 351,000, says Bloomberg News, which is lower than the median estimate forecast by a Bloomberg News survey of 375,000.

Companies aren’t firing people as fast or as often and are instead working to expand their workforces, as the U.S. saw an increase in new jobs for February. Combine that with rising retail sales and an uptick in consumer confidence, as well as decreasing worry over a European default, and you’ve got a pretty positive picture.

Things are still moving slowly, say experts, but the economy and labor market are going in the right direction. Slow and steady wins the race, right, tortoise economy?

Jobless claims in U.S. Decrease, Match Four-Year Low [Bloomberg]

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  1. Cat says:

    Damn you, Obama! This is all your fault!

    Oh, wait…

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      No, you’re right. The Republicans want to blame all our economy woes on Barack Obama, even though the trouble starting way before he was in office, and came to a head before he came into office as well. Then they complain he’s not doing anything to improve it.

      Now that it’s improving, you can’t change your tune and give credit somewhere else. If you’re going to blame Obama, then you also have to give him the credit when it improves.

      • Cat says:

        Or better yet, give him no credit for the economy (allegedly) improving, and no credit / blame for the economy being in the crapper.

        Because the truth is, there is very little any president can do – by themselves – about the economy, good or bad.

        • frank64 says:

          Yes, and Obama and the Democrats were blaming Bush during the election and even after he was elected.

          Elections and politics basically insult our intelligence, and the way we eat it up means they are right.

        • TuxthePenguin says:

          “Because the truth is, there is very little any president can do – by themselves – about the economy, good or bad.”

          I’d agree for good, but I think a President could very easily drop the economy if he really wanted to. I don’t think we’ll ever see a president that would actually want to do that. For all my disagreements with people on the economy, I know that they are simply fighting for what they think will work best. I don’t want to entertain the thought that they might intentionally be making things worse.

          • Cat says:

            “I don’t want to entertain the thought that they might intentionally be making things worse.”

            Maybe it’s closer to the truth than we realize. If you could arrange things so you profited BIG TIME, but caused most of the country – people you don’t know or care about – would you?

            Consider this before you answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

            Maybe you wouldn’t, but how many would – or DO?

      • dolemite says:

        It’s pretty sad though. You attempt to rattle off all of the accomplishments, and they attribute those to something else. “Seal Team 6 got Osama, not Obama”. “Unemployment is going down, but not fast enough, and that’s because of X” “Yeah, more people have health coverage, but…socialism” “GW planned the Iraq withdrawal…Obama just made sure it happened.”

        Then they go on and on about stuff like gas prices that has nothing to do with Obama, or how the government is forcing birth control coverage with tax dollars or some nonsense.

  2. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    Or your unemployment ran out you’re not counted as a stat anymore.

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      Flat out wrong. Do some research.

      • alvysyngr says:

        How is that wrong? the ‘bums’ and others who no longer collect unemployment benefits are not counted in this number – turd

        • clippy2.0 says:

          who cares? the method of measuring unemployment hasn’t changed, so why would they change is just because a black man is president?

          • MeowMaximus says:

            No, they should change it because its dishonest, and does not reflect the true unemployment rate.

            • clippy2.0 says:

              I don’t think you understand how statistics works. Fun fact, if you suddenly change the metrics now, you have nothing to measure against. You need a history for the numbers to mean anything! Even if there are more accurate methods of measurement, because the number is used as a barometer of the economy, changing the way you measure the number renders it useless!

              • Jawaka says:

                But the metrics have changed. At least in my state they’ve decreased the length that a person can collect unemployment benefits.

              • MeowMaximus says:

                The point is that the government is lying to us, and it has NOTHING to do with the fact that a black man is president. Your bigotry is showing.

    • Extended-Warranty says:

      Because 99 weeks of unemployment is not nearly enough?

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Bingo! The REAL unemployment rate is over 20%, but since the government lies, we don’t know exactly how bad it is.
      Also Bagels – mmmm!

    • adamstew says:

      Except that these numbers are numbers of people filing NEW unemployment claims…. i.e. people who have JUST been fired from their jobs. This number has absolutely nothing to do with how long anyone has been on unemployment.

  3. TuxthePenguin says:

    Unadjusted data is even better:

    “The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 337,713 in the week ending March 10, a decrease of 30,719 from the previous week. There were 371,721 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.”

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I blame Obama.

  5. dolemite says:

    The REAL number is like 2054% when you factor in all of the people not working. Retirees, children, deceased people, and fictional characters. That’s something the libs don’t want you to know.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Except that you can’t change how you calculate the equation half-way through. This is a month-to-month comparison on a specific criteria.

      And 2054%? Where’d you come up with that, your ass? Do you even have data to support your claim. Like data showing retirees are actively seeking work after retirement? Or that children are seeking work, illegally?

      Take your pedantic dribble elsewhere.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Ya know, I think my sarcasm radar is malfunctioning, yes? Sorry, I guess I’ve been getting really sick of the comments like this one that people think are real.

        My apologies. I’ll go get some coffee and try to start the day anew.

        • dolemite says:

          Mwhahaha. Got ya.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          Weeooh, thought that was gonna get ugly there for a second.

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          Wow, “Poe’s Law”* applies here, big-time; which is a both hilarious and sad commentary on state of the national discourse.

          * Poe’s Law: Poe’s law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an internet adage reflecting the fact that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism. (Wikipedia)

      • Jawaka says:

        Well, they’ve recently decreased the amount of time that you can collect unemployment in Connecticut. Doesn’t that already change the calculations?

  6. The Lone Gunman says:

    Sorry–I just don’t buy this.

    When someone’s unemployment runs out, they are dropped from the stats as I understand it.

    There’s also those who have simply given up and stopped looking, and my understanding is that they are dropped from the stats as well.

    Still others have taken any kind of employment they can find for any hours and money, taking them out of the picture because they are employed–underemployed.

    New grads entering the workforce certainly can’t be counted, as there’s no work history yet–and they can’t find work, either.

    So what is the REAL unemployment rate in the US?

    • clippy2.0 says:

      clearly, the only way to find out is through the census bureau. I hear republicans love the census, right?

      • The Lone Gunman says:

        I wouldn’t know–why not ask a Republican?

        • clippy2.0 says:

          or I could just ask you. if the traditional metrics for measuring unemployment don’t satisfy you, what would you recommend instead?

          • The Lone Gunman says:

            You asked me: I hear republicans love the census, right?

            I responded to that question. Nothing else.

            Loias has the right of it IMO as far as metrics–add in the groups I mentioned in another post, adjust historically, and get something much closer to reality regarding un- and underemployment for this ‘recession’ and let the chips fall where they may.

            • clippy2.0 says:

              under-employement is pointless to measure. who cares if someone with a degree is working an hourly position. it’s still work, it still pays the bills. I hate that every time someone talks about the ecomomy and un-employment, people spout nonsense about “oh what about those who don’t feel like looking for work anymore, and what about students, and what about my illegal immigrants who I use to clean my estate”

              no one cares, thats not the measured metric. you know how to have a good metric? consistent measurement. i’m not saying that there’s not room for improvement, but to dismiss the numbers because you want extra measurements is insane. if you take everything you added in now, the numbers would be meaningless, because you would have nothing to compare them against. so asking for them does you nothing

              • jesusofcool says:

                I don’t think underemployment is pointless to measure at all. You’re talking about a high number of people who are working in positions that are lower paid than what they were doing or were qualified to do pre-recession due to fewer jobs available and higher competition for jobs allowing employers to hire, and even look for, overqualified individuals. They’re making far less than they would be in a good economy and climbing up the ladder a lot slower. Their buying power and willingness to take major financial steps is less than it would be in a pre-recession economy. A difficult phenomenon to measure yes, but not at all pointless if what we’re analyzing is economic recovery.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Dolemite calculated it for you above. It’s 2054% more than reported.

    • frank64 says:

      It is way over 10%, but I think the real numbers are much less than before. I see many getting jobs that didn’t have them before. I was out of work for two years, and started working a year ago.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If we’re going to count the people you mentioned, then pre-recession numbers would also be higher than reported, so the net jobless number should still be relatively the same.

      Strawman argument eliminated.

    • Extended-Warranty says:

      No matter what statistic is given, some people will always find a way to invalidate it. No matter how much evidense is against them.

      Online doom and gloom opinions > fact

    • crispyduck13 says:

      As far as I know they are calculating this crap the same way they were calculating it last year, and the year before that, and ten years before that. There have ALWAYS been people who just tap out their unemployment and go off radar for this percentage. Why is it that people are questioning this now?

      If you don’t want to believe it then just admit you don’t want to believe it, don’t blame numbers just because you can, that’s a cheap copout. I work for a company that makes machinery for manufacturers, 90% of which make small consumer goods, car parts, and small electronics parts. Business is booming right now, so somebody is out there buying these products, and someone is paying them enough so that they can.

  7. Boiled for your sins says:

    Aren’t they referring to initial jobless benefit claims? Even the greediest company realizes they need some worker bees… they can only lay off so many people before it reaches the point where it hurts productivity. With fewer people

    • Boiled for your sins says:

      Well that was weird. That end part should be ‘With fewer people available to fire, of course the number goes down.’

      • The Lone Gunman says:

        I’m glad you clarified that. Had a vision of someone bursting into the room, grabbing you, and dragging you off to the re-education cam

  8. bluline says:

    I lost my job due to a layoff last week, so I’ll be one of those applying for jobless benefits. The last time this happened, at the start of the recession in 2008, it took me 16 months to land a new job. I certainly hope it doesn’t take that long this time around, but I’m 58 years old and I can’t imagine that many employers are anxious to hire someone my age.

    • lvdave says:

      Boy Do I feel for ya! I’ve been out of work since June 2010. I’ll be 62 the end of this month, have 20+ years experience in IT/Support, and every job i’ve applied for, I’ve either been “overqualified” or “underqualified” or in a couple of cases, where I checked on exactly WHO they hired for the job, it was a 30-something with obviously less experience than me.. I’ve been though all the UI extensions there are and have about 8 more weeks till the well is dry.. Then I’ll go off the radar and Obamas brainless labor statistics can say the unemployment rate is better by .000000000000000000000000000001

      • Not Given says:

        Maybe you can line up smaller companies that don’t need someone full time but really need some help with their stuff either part time or occasionally.

    • shibotu says:

      Sorry for what you’re going through and I know it well from getting laid off at 50.

      From my experience, I’d say don’t waste time applying with employers who will never hire older people (the ones who advertise for recent grads, etc). It’s better to spend your time on free lance work which may turn into a job, personal connections or positions you’re uniquely qualified for.

      It’s very tough, good luck.

    • Snoofin says:

      I think youll find it wont take anywhere NEAR 16 months to find a job. It might take 16 months to find a job that you like and where the pay is comparable to your last job, but I bet you could find a job at Walmart or McDonalds in about a week or are those kind of jobs “beneath you”. The McDonalds near me is staffed almost entirely by seniors during the daylight hours and they all seem quite happy to be working there.

    • Kuri says:

      something something bootstraps….

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Me too, last time it took me about the same amount of time and I’m 46. Add to that, I’m not hoping to just find any job; I want something decent where I don’t feel like I’m pounding crap all day. Hard to make that clear in interviews without sounding like a slacker.

  9. alvysyngr says:

    Things are going to very very awesome and shiny and pretty until AFTER the election

    My 2012 Predictions
    1 – Gas prices will go up consistently until the week of July 4th and there will be a BIG dip – maybe even a 20% decrease
    2 – President obama will launch his Billion Dollar ‘Yes we Can….again’ campaign using the gas drop as his launching pad.
    3 – Unemployment numbers will reach +/-7.4% (this of course does not count the ‘bums’ and those not collection unemployment benefits) by the time 2012 ends

    2013 – back to the decline

    • Libertas says:

      You forgot the fist pumping war with Iran that is all but mopped up by election time, only to turn into another illegal quagmire.

  10. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    The trickle effect on the U.S. economy, if something is improving, it takes years to reflect so. If something is getting worse, it also takes even more years to go away. Lose, lose situation for the majority of the population.

  11. fortymegafonzies says:

    Unemployment has been calculated from a national survey since 1940. To be counted as unemployed, you just need to able and willing to work. http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#why Unemployment claims, either new or ongoing, are not a factor in any way whatsoever.

  12. chizu says:

    Speaking of unemployment, I just tried to file for my partial unemployment yesterday. I got nothing this time. I mean, it’s okay that I got to work more in week 1 (40 hours), but I only got partial hours in week 2 (25 hours). I guess the way the math works is if you work over the allowable amount (and hours?), you are not entitle to any benefits at all. Despite working “more” hours, I’m still a couple hundreds short for this pay cycle (compared to what I used to make), so I was really hoping to get some help on week 2 to close up the gap. It sucks but I’ll just have to deal with it… I’m probably going to lose the benefits again for next pay cycle because I have to go into work tomorrow, and that would put my hours up to 32 this week. Even if I work 25 hours next week, I think the total gross earn income would be over the allowable by a bit so I’d get no help. *sighs* Sometimes it feels like it’d be easier if I don’t work (those extra hours) at all…

  13. kataisa says:

    So we’re back to 2008 levels then? In the good old days of 2008 the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose to a new 26-year high. So basically a high number of Americans are still out of work or have given up looking. Thanks for the Hope&Change, Obama.

  14. DragonThermo says:

    Nevermind the millions who have given up looking for work and are part of the permanent moocher/parasite class. If you count those who have given up on finding work, the unemployment rate is close to 20%.

    But the ObamaMedia will twist any story to get a drop of good propaganda out of it for Dear Leader.

    Oh, as for your “slow and steady wins the race” remark, Obama has given us the SLOWEST recovery in modern history. Even worse than the Great Depression that FDR gave us. At this rate of wreckovery, our great-grandchildren will be talking about the “slow and steady” recovery still underway.