Giant Fiddle

"Giant Fiddle" by tcp909 on flickr

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Well today’s (Thursday, July 21) report of Initial Unemployment Claims from last week is out and once again, the numbers show little improvement (via Reuters):

Separately, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to 418,000, the Labor Department said, above economists’ expectations for a rise to 410,000. 

The Reuters article is a revision of their initial report which had noted that last week’s number had once again been revised upwards, from the originally reported 405K to 408K. At least they didn’t say the “economists are surprised” for once.

Buried way down at the bottom of the Reuters article are these little nuggets of information:

The number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid dropped 50,000 to 3.70 million in the week ended July 9. 

The number of Americans on emergency unemployment benefits declined 80,133 to 3.15 million in the week ended July 2, the latest week for which data is available.

A total of 7.33 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period under all programs, down 159,000 from the prior week.

My bold. My guess is that the “decline” in folks receiving extended (emergency) benefits is most likely due to people aging out of the system. The so-called “99ers.” And please note that bolded piece once again. “A total of 7.33 million people were claiming unemployment benefits during that period…” The government officially recognizes at least 14M unemployed and 25M to 30M un and underemployed so this means that roughly half the people who are officially acknowledged as unemployed are not collecting any Unemployment compensation at this time.

Meanwhile, all the elected Neros in the Beltway Village continue to fiddle about with the “Grand Bargain” even when the DFHs at place like Bloomberg point out that whatever the results of massive budget cuts may be, creating jobs will not be one of them:

Advocates of reduced federal spending say shrinking the U.S. government would boost the economy and create jobs. They are wrong, according to Wall Street economists — at least for the short term. 

House Republican leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, urge spending cuts to lift employer confidence and increase investment and hiring. President Barack Obama, who signed into law a stimulus program now valued at $830 billion, has echoed the Republican assertions in recent comments, even as he has resisted cuts as deep and fast as they want.

Professional forecasters beg to differ. Fiscal retrenchment could subtract 1.5 percentage points to 2 percentage points from growth in 2012, a drag that will make it difficult to reduce 9.2 percent unemployment, say economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG.

I’m usually not one to take the predictions of Wall St economists as some form of gospel but the only group of people with a worse record than Wall St economists on getting things correct on the economy do happen to be the Beltway Village Idiots Politicians, Pundits, and Courtiers.

There is one small piece of a bit of Good News/Bad News. It seems the K Street lobbyists are having to actually work a bit these days. That’s the good news. The bad news? We have to hear them whine about it now. Outside of the Banksters and the executives of the Sirius Cybernetics Corp, I can’t think of any group who has less cause to whine which probably means we will now see dozens of articles on how the poor misunderstood lobbyists are just really trying to help all the poor widows and orphans honest.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy