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I really do want to believe in the economy…

2:56 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

I want to believe (photo: xyotiogyo, flickr)

I want to believe (photo: xyotiogyo, flickr)

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In the coming up on two years that I have been writing about the economy, jobs, un and underemployment at this little corner of the Intertoobz, I’ve tried to admit when my predictions have been a bit off. Like here and here where last summer I predicted we would be in a double-dip recession by the end of 2011. While we didn’t fall back into recession on the time frame I envisioned, I still see it as quite possible.

I do hope I get to admit being wrong on that. I so very much want to believe the economy is really improving and the jobs picture will brighten but I just can’t shake the feeling that it is all smoke and mirrors.

Today, (Thursday, January 19), the report of Initial Jobless Claims for last week came out and once again, the economists are surprised. Via Bloomberg:

Claims plunged by 50,000 to 352,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, the lowest level since April 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 41 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 384,000. A Labor Department spokesman said the decrease reflected volatility seen during this time of year. The four-week average, which smoothes out fluctuations, decreased to 379,000 last week from 382,500.

…snip…

Jobless claims were projected to decrease from 399,000 initially reported for the prior week, according to the Bloomberg survey. Estimates ranged from 363,000 to 405,000. The Labor Department revised the previous week’s figure up to 402,000.

I am not at all surprised that last week’s figures were revised upwards as that is the pattern over the last few months at least. I did not make an official prediction but will admit that I thought this week’s number would be back well above 400K. Once again, I do prefer to be wrong on these.

But then I see articles across the Toobz like this from Tuesday from US News (via Yahoo) with the headline “Are We Entering a Jobless Recovery?” and I just want to weep at the incredible combination of stoopid and duplicity to that gives us such a headline. Read the rest of this entry →

News from Around the Economy

2:43 pm in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Media, Unemployment by dakine01

While there hasn’t been a lot of economic news for me to rant about today, there have been a few articles I came across in my search of news sites that help to continue to paint the not-so-pretty picture of life in the US these days. First up is this from today’s (Wednesday, May 11) Hartford Courant about layoff notices for Connecticut state employees:

HARTFORD—
On a somber day in state government, the first employees started receiving layoff notices Tuesday in a process that could eventually reach more than 5,000 state workers under a worst-case scenario.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered the layoffs of 4,742 employees in more than 40 agencies, but that number could increase by hundreds if more cuts in state programs are approved by the legislature.

Because many of the employees are being notified individually and in person, the process of notifying all of them could take weeks. Tuesday was marked by confusion among state employees as many did not receive a notice and they remained unsure if they would have a job in the coming months.

I and many others have concentrated mainly on the actions of the Republican governors but the reality is, most all of the states are struggling to balance their budgets and have been forced to cut jobs. Probably the biggest difference between states with Democratic governors and legislatures and those run by Republicans is the Democrats aren’t (at least outwardly) aren’t cutting the jobs while simultaneously cutting taxes for their campaign contributors.

The Hartford Courant’s Rick Greene offered five reasons why the layoff notices are a good thing. I find the first reason quite telling in itself:

1. Republicans will be forced to admit they actually do like some aspects of government when they realize services they want will be eliminated — like teachers or actually finding someone to answer the phone at the DMV.

Of course, I also have no belief that any Republicans anywhere will actually admit to there being valid government services. It does highlight one of the aspects of the US political systems where (theoretically) there are negotiations between the two dominant parties with compromises and all folks working toward the common good. Yeah, I know, but I still have to believe it is possible for the system to work as otherwise, it means we are all wasting our time and I refuse to give in to that belief.

MSNBC’s Alison Lin had this report from the government on job openings in March:

The government reported Wednesday that there were 3.1 million job openings in March, up slightly from the previous month. About 4 million people were hired in March, also a slight increase over the previous month.

Still, the Economic Policy Institute reports that there continues to be more than four jobseekers for every job opening.
Read the rest of this entry →