The Labor Department is out with its report on weekly jobless claims. Today's report came to 372,000 and that was a gain of 4,000 after last week's report was revised higher to 368,000 from a preliminary report of 366,000. Bloomberg and Dow Jones were both calling for a consensus of 365,000. While this was not much different and is not likely to move the markets much, this is a trend higher and a trend that is heading in the wrong direction.
Another measurement is the four-week average which aims to smooth out the volatility of each week, and that figure also rose by some 3,750 to 368,000. The army of unemployed, which is the continuing jobless claims reported with a one-week lag, and that figure rose by another 4,000 as well up to 3,317,000.
Today's release in not likely going to be enough to jolt investors on an August trading day. Still, this is an election year and this is not exactly a move in the right direction. Unemployment is high at 8.3% and the unofficial unemployment rate is far higher when you tally up the part-time workers and the under-employed work force. We won't even bother throwing out the notion that college graduates are now competing in force to find jobs.
Another reason that the news is somewhat of concern is that the CBO targets released just yesterday showed that the U.S. will have a mild recession of -0.5% GDP and that unemployment will rise back to 9% in 2013 if the coming fiscal cliff is not addressed.
JON C. OGG
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Labor, Labor & Unions