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Jobless claims fall, but not enough


(Photo credit: Getty Images)

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Weekly unemployment claims declined Thursday for the first time in a month, but did not fall steeply enough to alleviate ongoing concern about the nation's economic recovery.

The number of people for unemployment benefits filing for the first time dropped to 473,000 for the week ending Aug. 21 after climbing above 500,000 -- a nine-month-high -- the week before. Economists had expected a lesser drop, forecasting that the claims tallied by the Labor Department would fall to 490,000.

While the numbers released Thursday sent stock futures rising and eased some of the concern that the labor market will weigh down an economic rebound, other economic indicators are painting an increasingly gloomy picture.

Commerce Department figures released Wednesday showed deterioration in capital investment, which until now had been a bright spot in the economic recovery. Durable goods for July inched up only 0.3 percent, while economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a 3 percent gain.

While the U.S. GDP has grown for four quarters, the pace decelerated from a 5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Many economists expect that growth fell below 2 percent the second quarter of 2010. The government releases its revised figures on Friday.

Hiring remains at dismal levels. In July, the economy lost 131,000 jobs and the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent. In the private sector, a net of 71,000 jobs were added--well below the 100,000 new positions that economists believe are needed to sustain a true recovery.

The total number of people collecting unemployment benefits fell to 4.46 million in the week ending Aug. 14, down from 4.52 million.

Earlier this month, Congress approved $26 billion in aid to states to prevent layoffs of teachers, police and other public service employees.

The grim economic picture has left top officials at the Federal Reserve divided about how best to support the economy. Fed chairman Ben S. Bernanke is under pressure to offer solutions in an address scheduled for Friday.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  August 26, 2010; 9:02 AM ET
Categories:  Federal Reserve , U.S. Economy , Unemployment  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning briefing: German consumer confidence up
Next: 1 in 10 holding mortgages missed payments, but foreclosures drop slightly from earlier this year


Ah the summer of recovery where the Obama administration has moved from "yes we can" to "it's all Bush's fault". Perhaps the "d" and "r" in the car really stand for destroy and replenish. We have seen the Dems in "d" going at top speed to "spread the wealth" and how well our economy has responded to that ideaology.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I am sure this report is more phony economic data produced by BO to bolster the dems chances in November.The numbers will be revised downward just like the rest of the so called positive economic data produced by this corrupt administration. How can loosing 475-K jobs be good news if you just lost your job or have been looking for a job for years. BO chains we can believe in just like the summer of recovery. What a sick joke!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Man , there are a lot of geniuses in this country , blame Obama for not being able to clean up the mess the Bush / Cheney Republican party created when all the Republicans have done from the first day Obama took office is to sabotage and obstruct and hope that there is no recovery and that things stay bad or get worse , so that dummies in this country then blame Obama and vote for the same ones who all but destroyed this country and created this mess to begin with , the Republican party ! Amazing .

Posted by: Koom | August 26, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This isn't McDonald's people, an overnight recovery isn't going to happen. It will take years to recover from the Depression we are in. Who caused it? Who cares!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It is time for our President to get off his rear end, get off the golf course, get off air force 1, distance himself from the far left, and do the right thing to develope an economic climate that will encourage small businesses to hire again. His agenda of increased taxes, increased regulation, increased healthcare costs from his crappy healthcare plan, cap n trade, and other unnecessary environmental restrictions, have stymied hiring by small business owners!! Our president's agenda has been anti growth, anti small business, and has made our economy much worse despite what GW Bush ever did! Our economy went in the tank when the dems took over congress in 2006. They have had full control of the pursestrings since then! Dodd and Frank are the main culprits, encouaging banks to lend to anyone who could make it to the bank, with little or no money down! Hence the mortgage devastation!! Now, a dependency state has been created. with 18% of the real unemployed, with little hope of finding a job!! All you Obama voters, how has his agenda worked for you? Will you be duped again by his slick promises?

Posted by: donn09 | August 26, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Are we ever going to be honest about these numbers, or is the truth too awful.

Jobless claims?

What about all the folks out of work but not not filing claims?

Don't they count.

What is it, 20,30,40 million people who would work if there were jobs that paid the cost of living?

The number of jobless people in this nation is just not reported.


Posted by: essl | August 26, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The 11:09 anon post gets a ten on the weirdometer.

The data has all been faked. Even though the fake news is bad. You'd think that if they're going to fake the data, they'd fake something that looks a little better. Sheesh

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry: Things are really looking up. Now that you and Skip have discussed reparations, how about focusing on the economy, and jobs. The bottom has fallen out of the residential real estate market, and commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop. Companies are't hiring because they know health costs are going up thanks to your socialist "cram it down your throat" health care overhaul, and incresed taxes. Two of your so called economic gurus have already thrown in the towel, and Tiny Tim needs to do the same. Come to think of it, so do you. You are a walking time bomb, and what this country needs is for you to go far, far away.

Posted by: jemvbcarmagh06 | August 26, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

When Pelosi / Reid / Obama took over Congress in Jan 2007, after 12 years of Republican prosperity, unemployment was at 4%, DOW was at a record high, we had had 54 straight months of economic growth.
The recession started in late 2007, nearly A YEAR AFTER the Democrat Congress took power, with the DOW is down 40% from when Pelosi/Reid/Obama took over The Republican Congress had 4 budget surplus years, and left in 2006, with the DOW at a record high, unemployment sub 4%, deficits were moderate and trending down, and after 52 straight months of economic growth.
100% of the recession, 100% of the stock market drop, 100% of skyrocketing unemployment, 100% of the bailouts, the crash of the Frank/Dodd financial system, a 40% growth in Govt spending, and $3.8 Trillion of new deficit debt, the worst environmental disaster in US history belongs to THIS DEMOCRAT CONGRESS. Regarding the surplus that Bush had, what happened on 11 September 2001 that might have affected that surplus?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad these short term thinkers are happy with today's job number, but the long term trend is ominous. Unemployment has only been rising, and only looks to get worse.

I charted Unemployment data against the S&P 500 over the past 5 years. It's not pretty.

Posted by: HiddenLevers | August 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad these short term thinkers are happy with today's job number, but the long term trend is ominous. Unemployment has only been rising, and only looks to get worse.

I charted Unemployment data against the S&P 500 over the past 5 years. It's not pretty.

Posted by: HiddenLevers | August 26, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

folks ran out of their benefits even with the extension to Nov. 28. One must qualify for these extensions. It's not just "you're on unemployment, so you automatically get extended when Congress votes".

Your base period of earnings have to be a certain amount before you can get EUC (emergency unemployment compensation).

According to the law signed last October.

When the press reports that the numbers have gone down a tad, means people lost their benefits (or don't qualify) and fell off the unemployment rolls.

When the news says "people just stop looking for jobs".......they mean the same thing. I doubt that anyone ever really stops looking for work.

It's that bad out there.

So folks with a low base period from June 2008....had their unemployment stop when they tried to file a new EUC claim.

Not everyone got emergency unemployment claim money or even extended benefit claim money.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

i believe the ship started sinking after

Then industries like banks and mortgage lenders started breaking regulatory code. Everyone got loans and credit reports didn't count.

Plus, your CEO ripped off your 401(k).

Since I am old enough to live this decade and compare, so to speak, to other economic times (1979-1984)....IMHO, it truly started after 9-11 .
It broke us, in more ways than one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

hey - my name isn't coming out on my entries here.

It should read TheBabeNemo and it reads Anonymous.

I'm not Anonymous.

This is strange. WaPo, are you listening.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

well, let's see now...since i had to sign in----
haven't had to do that before (for years)

this is a test

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Reading this BS and the stuff from AP, MarketWatch and others makes me sick. You can't gild this lily boys and girls. There is a double dip enroute and it will make the last two years appear pale in comparison...get ready for the fall this Fall.

Posted by: walkerrussellc | August 26, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Looks like another reason to justify a vacation. And why not. Apparently for Obozzo taking a morning $h!t is reason enough to take some time off.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

We have seen the enemy of the U.S. and it is us. Until we, as a united citizenry, are capable of facing the one underlying fact that WE citizens are the true cause of our Country's economic demise matters will continue to deteriorate.

We have let ourselves be divided, and led, by two Political Party's. It makes it easier for them to serve their global (aka foreign) masters. The only true difference between the Party's is their name and who is financing their team.

We have let ourselves be entertained by "news" and could really care less about any real "facts" or "truth" beyond what may be necessary to cite the current "cheers" for our "team" or to "trash" the other "team".

Small wonder that the publishing industry can't be bothered with in-depth, complete, reporting, of all of the facts. Ratings are what is now important. Commentary is generated with partial truth and the global owners of the publication industry sit back and count their points as near rabid Party fans argue the merits, or lack of merits, of the teams and their players.

Well folks; governance is not a sport, and news is not entertainment, and spin is not truth. We are living in a house of cards of our own making and, while it is still partially propped up, it IS going to come tumbling down if we don't start using our brains for something other than enjoying the current moment's pleasure.

A global economy can only work if there is global government. Global government can not function when there are upstarts in places like the U.S. that still believe in the concept that the citizens themselves should control government and enjoy Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Global government is the extreme opposite of what America's founders intended and what we UNITED American's defended for so many years.

Only WE can preserve the freedom and promise that was, and can still be, truly the United States of America.

Posted by: AEstates | August 26, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

It’s going to be a long time before workers trust the stability of their private sector jobs enough to start spending. Maybe if the private sector wasn’t so quick to treat American workers like expendable pieces of trash, we’d have more confidence. As it is, we need stable government jobs that we can’t just be fired from that can’t just be exported.

Posted by: HilaryLo | August 26, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

HilaryLo - "As it is, we need stable government jobs that we can’t just be fired from that can’t just be exported."

No offense intended but I hope that you will take a few moments to consider that if everyone were working at Government jobs there would be no money to pay for those jobs.

I won't attempt to explain basic economics or why that is true. It would be much better for the U.S.A. as a whole if you manage to figure out why that is true for yourself. The educational materials are available for "free". Even better if you could explain to others of your mindset what you have learned.

You might even discover that there are way too many Government jobs already. THAT would be a good start to solving America's economic problems.

Posted by: AEstates | August 26, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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