Claims for unemployment benefits rose by a surprise 2,000 to 414,000 last week, sending stocks downward. Economists had predicted a drop in claims to 405,000.
The newly released US jobs report shows the unemployment rate rising to 9.1% for May, the highest it’s been all year. On the face of it that looks like a faltering recovery. But hidden in this raw number is good news.
If your wallet is feeling a bit lighter these days, it’s probably because you’ve done your part over the past few weeks to give the retail sector a needed boost. Holiday spending in the 50 days before Christmas this year was up 5.5 percent over 2009, which yielded a 4 percent increase over 2008.
As a nation, we saved more of our paychecks last month than any time since last September–nearly 4% of income went unspent. That worries economists, because it means we’re not spending at a high enough rate to support an economic recovery. But as the Washington Post notes, since unemployment remains high and most of the recent wage growth came from the government, consumers aren’t exactly comfortable with buying something shiny and new just because it’s on sale.
As we recover from the Great Recession ™, unemployment may go down, but something will have changed. Economic conditions have accelerated the trend toward what BusinessWeek calls the “disposable worker.” Americans’ concept of a full-time job–one that includes health and retirement benefits and a measure of security–will need to change in the coming years.
Big news! AIG, poster child of the economic meltdown, has reported a profit. The company says it had a net income for the second quarter of $1.8 billion, which is much better than in 2008 when it lost $5.8 billion. So, how much did we-the-people get for our investment? $1.5 billion.
The world is currently overjoyed at the news that new home sales have increased by 11% this month, which is apparently much more than expected, but are still 21% below the levels of a year ago.
The deepest “employment slump of any recession in the last eight decades” has consumers convinced they’re about to lose their jobs — and that’s affecting consumer confidence, says Bloomberg.
If you’re worried some financial cataclysm will knock you into a miserable life situation, why not jump the gun and start slumming it to anticipate the meltdown? MSN Money writer Donna Freedman advises such a maneuver, along with other pre-emptive strikes against destitution.