All of the great jobs gains may have peaked if the Labor Department’s report on weekly jobless claims is going to remain static. While the official figure of claims is down by 2,000 for the last week to 386,000 it is important to understand that the figure rom the prior week was revised up to 388,000 from a preliminary figure of 380,000. Dow Jones was only expecting some 375,000 in new claims for this last week.
The four-week moving average also rose by 5,500 up to a seasonally adjusted figure of 374,750. That is the highest reading in almost three-months.
Today’s report is on the heels of a poor report from the Labor Department showing that employers only added 120,000 new payrolls in March.
The army of unemployed, measured by the continuing jobless claims with a one-week lag, showed a gain of about 26,000 up to 3,297,000.
The Labor Department’s recent report of 8.2% unemployment is masking the real underlying issue that many workers are opting out of the labor force. That is not a real gain in employment. Low rates of 120,000 in new payrolls are not at all going to offer real economic gains at this point. With jobless claims heading back toward the 400,000 mark, we have to winder what the summer is going to look like.
JON C. OGG