Mike: I hope you are all having a great Thursday and thanks for visiting.
The number we are all looking at today is the Jobless Claims number. A second important number that will give of view of the economy’s health is the Housing Starts report. Both of those economic indicators will be available at 8:30 Eastern.
There was finally some better news to report on the jobless claims numbers as 53,000 less applied for unemployment than the previous week. Although the previous week was adjusted upward from 654,000 to 663,000. While the 610,000 is a significant improvement, we need to wait for the revised number before we know if that improvement is accurate. For the past five months, nearly all the initial jobless claims numbers came in higher once revised. Any improvement is a positive, especially when the weekly bounces are removed for the four-week moving average report. This is two consecutive weeks of improved jobless claims, so let’s hope this is a trend. I have to say that I have seen less layoff action the past couple weeks. While this blogger can’t account for nearly all the layoff announcements that happen on a weekly basis, I have noticed that there seems to be a slowing of the pace of announcements.
Not all the news was positive today, as housing starts dropped to a near record low in March of 510,000 units. Even with abnormally lowinterest rates and better housing prices, people are not signing the number of new home contracts that would be expected. But with over 600,000 people losing their jobs each week, it may be a case of people waiting till they see some economic stabilization before they buy a new home.
- A cautionary note: There is also the issue of job creation. I have mentioned that US needs to CREATE 120,000 jobs a month to merely keep even with job population growth. So if we are still losing 600,000 jobs a week and we need to create 120,000 each month, where does that leave us? I’ll do some simple math and divide 120,000 by 4 = 30,000 per week. So on top of the 600,000 lost, we aren’t creating the 30,00o jobs a week to keep even. Therefore job loss is magnified, but not reported, by 30,000 a week.
Additionally, since last week was a short work week due to the Easter holiday, some job cuts may have been postponed till this week. We’ll know more about that next week.
I somewhat discount the continuing claims number and its record breaking habit simply because unemployment benefits have been extended to 72 weeks in some states. I don’t recall unemployment benefits reaching that length of time previously, so it would make sense that more people remain on benefits. If benefits lasted only 50 weeks, that number would start to decline as people exhausted benefits. Once the latest 13-week increase ends, this number is likely to decline as a result.
If jobs losses continue to improve, we will be fortunate indeed, since an economy cannot rebound without job creation. I look forward to posting fewer job loss announcements and more hiring announcements!
Onto the news of the day………..
The Labor Department says its tally of initial jobless claims dropped to a seasonally adjusted 610,000 from a revised figure of 663,000 the previous week. That is significantly below analysts’ expectations of 655,000.
* Larger layoff announcements and important economic reports:
- Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors & News -
- The layoffs, the first since Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz joined in January, could be formally announced Tuesday, when the Sunnyvale Internet company reports first-quarter earnings.
- Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is planning a new round of job cuts according to the reports as the company continues to cope with the aftermath of a downturn in online advertsing sales.
The New York Times and Reuters, citing several people with knowledge of the plans, said the layoffs could affect several hundred employees and may be announced as early as Tuesday when Yahoo reports its first-quarter earnings.
via MediaFile » Blog Archive » Yahoo planning more job cuts | Blogs | .
- The Silicon Valley company is seeking buyers for the HotJobs employment site, people familiar with the company’s plans said on Wednesday, adding that other acquisitions could follow HotJobs out of the door. Yahoo struck a deal to buy the site in 2001 for $436m in cash and stock.
- General Economic News -
- WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, government data on Thursday showed, but the number of people continuing to receive benefits rose to a fresh record.
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell 53,000 to a seasonally adjusted 610,000 the week ended April 11 from a revised 663,000 the week before, the Labor Department said. The slowdown of new claims for jobless benefits would be a good sign, if it continues.
In a second report, the Commerce Department said housing starts fell 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units, second lowest on records dating back to 1959, from February’s downwardly revised 572,000 units.
via Mixed signals as jobless claims and housing starts both drop - USATODAY.com.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of American households threatened with losing their homes grew 24 percent in the first three months of this year and is poised to rise further as major lenders restart foreclosures after a temporary break, according to data released Thursday.
The big unknown for the coming months, however, is President Barack Obama’s plan to help up to 9 million borrowers avoid foreclosure through refinanced mortgages or modified loans. The Obama administration expects its plans to make a big dent in the foreclosure crisis. But it remains to be seen whether the lending industry will fully embrace it, despite $75 billion in incentive payments.
via US foreclosures up 24 percent in 1st quarter - Yahoo! Finance.
- With unemployment at 9.4 percent in Florida and nearly 50,000 new applications for food stamps each month, the state has paid JPMorgan Chase nearly $50 million over the past three years to provide food stamp program services, which include customer service call centers in Bangalore and Gurgaon, India.
“She’s got every right to be incensed,” said state Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, chairman of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee. “I can understand why she would feel that this is just not a good policy. We’ll definitely look into it.”
Spokesmen for Gov. Charlie Crist and Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon declined a request for comment.
via Florida food stamp jobs in India aggravate recipients, officials.
- LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation’s second-largest shopping mall owner, General Growth Properties, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday in a tough bargaining move to restructure it’s $27 billion in debt.
- Government Layoff News -
- ELYRIA, Ohio — Ten Elyria firefighters are now out of work, laid off because of budget cuts.
- US and some Canada Layoff News -
- MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. said Thursday it expects to cut up to 400 more jobs as its first-quarter profit tumbled 37 percent due to a sluggish motorcycle market.
- TACOMA, Wash. — Downtown Tacoma’s biggest employer, Russell Investments, is giving layoff notices Wednesday to about 400 of its 2,000 workers.
- About 40 workers will lose their jobs when the Beaver plant closes at the end of the month. Da-Tech is helping workers to find other jobs.
- International Layoff News -
- HONG KONG, April 15 (Reuters) – Japanese brokerage Nomura Holdings Inc has cut another 50 investment banking jobs in Asia, excluding Japan, sources close to the matter said on Wednesday
- Hiring News and News You Can Use -
- Sen. Jack Reed said, “These projects are shovel-ready and will put an estimated 150 Rhode Islanders to work upgrading runways and lighting to make these airports safer and more efficient.”