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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

New weekly jobless claims rise by 13,000, surprising forecasters

New weekly jobless claims filed last week rose by 13,000 to 472,000, surprising forecasters who predicted a slight drop from the week before.

The four-week moving average of new jobless claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose by 3,250 to 466,500.

The number of ongoing jobless claims rose from 4.57 million the week before to 4.62 million last week. These are the long-term unemployed.

Forecasters expected 455,000 new jobless claims to be filed.

Unemployment is a rock the government has been unable to move and the private sector has been unwilling to move. It's true that today's surprise bump in the new weekly jobless claims number is discouraging, but it is statistically irrelevant, as long as the new weekly claims number stays stubbornly stuck in the mid-400,000s, as it has for weeks now.

Economists say that meaningful new job growth cannot occur until the weekly jobless claims number gets down into the low-400,000s or upper 300,000s and stays there. Over the past several weeks, the weekly claims number has maddeningly hovered just above that, refusing to leave its mid-400,000s perch.

We'll know more about the nation's unemployment picture tomorrow when the June jobs report comes out. Forecasters expect the national unemployment rate to stay unchanged at 9.7 percent. Despite that, a number of new jobs could have been created in June, but the real tell will be where they were created: Of the 440,000 new jobs created in May, nearly every one of them was a census worker, a position that will go away in the fall when the count ends.

Until the private sector starts creating jobs -- and one survey earlier this week said the private sector created a paltry 13,000 jobs in May -- the economy cannot recover.

By Frank Ahrens  |  July 1, 2010; 8:56 AM ET
Categories:  Unemployment  
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Next: June auto sales: GM, Ford down 13%, Chrysler down 12%


It's sad to see the Post hiding this news in the micro-headlines. We all know that the minute bad news came out during Bush's presidency, it was in a huge banner at the top of the page. Every article included the phrase "jobless recovery".

When is the Post going to recognize that Obama has scared the private sector into retrenchment, not growth. Obama crows that he's reduced the number of jobs lost every month (700,000 when he took office, down to about 20,000 today). That's a ruse. Of course you lose more jobs at the beginning. That's when employers are cutting the easy fat. Now they're cutting bone. Much harder to do and an excrutiating decision. Of course the losses are smaller.

But the Post just whistles on, pretending those "saved" public sector jobs are a boon to the economy. Bah. We need to cut public sector jobs, salaries and benefits. We can't afford them.

Posted by: jeannebee | July 1, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

It's only surprising if you've never had a college level economics class.

Posted by: ADNova | July 1, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

As long as employers prefer creating jobs in offshore cheap-labor markets to creating jobs in the US, the absence of jobs will continue to stifle demand, and to strangle growth.

In other words, to exploit poverty is to spread poverty, and to spread poverty is to destroy demand.

Stimulus is required to change the direction of this downward spiral, but stimulus isn't sufficient. It's necessary that our stimulus dollars stay in the US economy, to the greatest degree possible.

Posted by: lonquest | July 1, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you ship all your manufacturing jobs overseas for cheap labor as we have done. There is nothing to bolster a recovery. Short term gains have lead to long term pains.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | July 1, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Census jobs - the vast majority of the recent census jobs lasted less than 2 months. As of June 30, more than 90% have disappeared.

"Surprise and surprising" are used 3 times in the column. If you wanted to insure that the private sector doesn't start hiring or investing in expansion, the actions of this congress and administration are spot-on. We don't know what's coming but it sure looks like: higher taxes applied unequally, more regulations applied unintelligibly, and hiher energy costs in the form of taxes, restrction of supply, or regulatory costs for compliance.

So let's wait and see what other "surprises" our federal gvoernment has in store for us.

Posted by: pilsener | July 1, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Enough with being surprised. Seriously, every other week there's an economic report that contains "unexpectedly" bad data. Get used to it: the Obama economy is terrible, and wishing that it will be better won't make it so.

Posted by: Swat02 | July 1, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

How's Obama's "Summer of Recovery" working for ya?

Posted by: gorams1 | July 1, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama YEA!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: askgees | July 1, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Folks you need not worry…we are moving forward, or so says Mr. Obama during yesterday's visit to Racine, WI where unemployment is at 14%. He once again blamed the Republicans for this country's plight and said that the Democrats know how to get things moving forward. Alas, and to no one's surprise, his speech lacked any substantive plan on how to reduce unemployment, create jobs and simulate the economy. In fact, today’s numbers prove it…the stimulus packages HAVE NOT WORKED!

Posted by: Bockscar | July 1, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

When we bring houses back down to affordable levels and adjust peoples mortgages to where they have a 40-50 year loan and their payment is around 1/3 of their monthly income, then you will start seeing a recovery. Don't touch the principle.

People who don't have extra money to spend are only going to spend it on necessities and if that is the case, the economy will not return to where it was.

Posted by: cavatellie | July 1, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Every person that is unemployed or cares about the unemployed should be signing this. a_tier_v_added_ to_unemployment _benefits

I am not one of the unemployed however see the need for Unemployment extensions… The fact that Congress cannot find other cuts is unacceptable; they always go after what is needed the most and save their pet projects and Wall Street friends.

Congress needs to be held accountable for the their failure to create a jobs bill and a jobs market. Extending Unemployment is not the answer however it what is needed now.
The Answer is to create jobs, which will take Congress placing higher taxes on any company that out sources jobs over seas, higher taxes on any funds leaving the US and higher tariffs on imports. Until then we have to pay out unemployment for the failure of our leaders.

Support unemployment here, it is one of highest all time petitions. a_tier_v_added_ to_unemployment _benefits

I am dropping this link everywhere to gain support for the unemployed. I am doing my part, are you?

Posted by: Tim_incubator | July 1, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

To Tim_incubator
Thanks, for the heads up. I'll go immediately!

Posted by: ArmchairGM | July 1, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

WTF is it going to take before the unemployment issue becomes the top story across the country?! All the news outlets want to talk about is Afghanistan, BP and the pointless Kagan confirmation hearings. MILLIONS, not thousands, not hundreds, but MILLIONS of people are unemployed and more and more of them are losing the only income they have left with the expiration of the unemployment benefits. What will it take for the powers that be to do something besides stand around and BS us more? Are we going to have to march on DC and stage a revolt? I'm beginning to think that the only way true change is ever going to happen is for us the people to overthrow this pathetic excuse for a government.

Posted by: mulder69 | July 1, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, today’s numbers prove it…the stimulus packages HAVE NOT WORKED!"

Really? You can peer into a parallel universe where the stimulus wasn't passed and see that the economy was better there?

Posted by: presto668 | July 1, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

They were also surprised to walk outside and see that the sky is blue?

Posted by: peterg73 | July 1, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The only answer to the unemployment problem is to sell a huge amount of Government fixed-rate bonds, and use the money to build an all-electric high speed rail system. It would be ready in time for the coming peak oil crisis (A gasoline price explosion, because of ever increasing Chinese oil demand, IS coming. They won't let us buy it all, as they need more and more. Guess what will happen to the price.) which will hit in about 10 years. Such a program would need to require that 95% of everything used in the construction be made in the USA. Foreign companies could freely participate, but they would have to build plants in the USA. All the employees would need to be American citizens. If this were done, the economy would be near full employment within 3 years.

Posted by: billsimpson451 | July 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Unlike China, your stimulus package has failed. My friends and I took a good look at it when it first came out and there was a lot or pork. China built roads, bridges and trains etc. You hired a lot of government workers that do not product anything. You will not get my democrat vote this fall unless you work on jobs and not immigration

Posted by: farmsnorton | July 1, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Spend some of the 350 billion you have left over from the stimulus on granting unemployment. Why are you saving the 350 billion when you could be issuing unemployment checks. This way you will not add to the deficit

Posted by: farmsnorton | July 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I just came out of the cave I've been living in, alone, totally isolated from the world for the last ~2 years. I am very surprised by these jobless numbers. The sun is also very bright. Squint.

Posted by: pyellman | July 1, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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