Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in nearly three years, continuing a downward trend that suggests hiring could pick up this year.
Applications sank by a seasonally adjusted 36,000 to 383,000, the lowest point since early July 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Some analysts cautioned that severe winter weather that affected 30 states could have contributed to the sharp drop, closing some government offices and preventing people from filing applications.
Still, many analysts said the decline points to better hiring ahead.
Isn't it amusing... the greatest Winter Storm in the history of the nation makes it's way across the continent last week, and this reporter cannot put two and two together to see that this is why jobless claims were so low last week. Trust me, next week this number with be shockingly worse than expected, and somehow THEN the weather will be blamed. Thank God for Dave Kranzler's perspective on the BS behind this weeks "surprisingly good" jobless claims number:
More "BS" From The BLS
by Dave Kranzler
The media will no doubt grab onto today's jobless claims report as more evidence that the economy is improving. But recall that Bernanke stated clearly yesterday that high unemployment is going to persist for a long time. Also, not widely reported, is that for the second month in a row it was reported yesterday that job openings in December were lower again and that the metric fell to its lowest level since September. Not only that, but the number of employees hired also declined. Here's the report: LINK
So todays lower-than-expected jobless claims report has to be greeted with a high degree of skepticism and a real desire to see exactly how the Government creates its "seasonal" adjustments. I guess there could be a high correlation between new claim filings and the bad snow storms hitting a large part of the country. But shouldn't there be "adjustments" to normalize for that?
And actually, on an "unadjusted" basis, the number of claims actually were about 20k higher than expected. Even more troublesome, and something that will absolutely not be reported in most daily newspapers or local news broadcasts, was the fact that the number of claims for extended benefits - these are the people who are on the 2 1/2 year benefit roll (aka welfare) - increased by over 100,000 to 9.4 million. Let's put this number in perspective. The BLS reported that the labor force was around 63 million. With 9.4 million of those receiving jobless bennies, this means that a full 15% of the "labor force" is essentially part of the welfare expenditures. Here's the full report: LINK
Also not widely pointed out was the fact that Obama has proposed a moratorium on interest payments for States which have had to borrow from the Federal Govt (that means you, the Taxpayer) in order to fund State unemployment benefit programs. IF this proposal becomes a reality, and States like California stop making payments to you and me, collectively the Taxpayers, how is this any different than a de facto debt default? This is indeed a default because it means that these States had the choice of not making payments under Federal claims OR not making payments to ALL creditors, including municipal bond holders like Pimco. THIS WILL BE A DEBT DEFAULT.
The only difference between this and a default is that Obama, on behalf of Us, has the authority to propose and legislate a "deferral, thereby technically circumventing a legal default. Of course, you can refer to money printing as "quantitative easing" so that it appears to be something other than that which it really is. And you can call "stronzata" a "rose," but it will still smell like stronzata.
It's getting worse by the day, not better like Bernanke and Obama and the media would have you believe. The reports of silver and gold bullion shortages in Australia, Asia, Europe and Canada are now proliferating and have a high degree of credibility, especially as reflected in the soaring lease rate for silver. This tells me that the rest of the world smells the stronzata eminating from Washington, DC and Wall Street...
January Deficit Grows by $50B
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government's budget deficit grew by $50 billion in January and is expected to finish the year as the highest in history.
The Treasury Department said Thursday the deficit was one of the highest ever for the month of January, second only to the $63 billion deficit recorded two years ago. For the first four months of this budget year, the deficit totaled $418.8 billion, 2.7 percent lower than the same period a year ago.
However, this improving trend is expected to reverse in coming months. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting a record deficit of $1.5 trillion this budget year, which ends in September. The estimate was revised upward last month based on a tax-cut package brokered between the White House and Republicans that will add $400 billion to this year's red ink.
That will mark the third consecutive year that the government's deficit has been over $1 trillion, unprecedented imbalances that have been caused by the worst recession since the 1930s. That meant a sharp drop in government tax collections as millions of people lost their jobs while at the same time the government was boosting spending to stimulate the economy and stabilize the banking system.
...and the prices of Precious Metals waffled today? News reports claimed that Precious Metals prices rose today after news broke that Mubarak would leave office in Egypt today. This seems ridiculous on the face of it, as Precious Metals prices rose last week as violent protests erupted demanding he relinquish power. Wouldn't Gold prices "drop" on news of Mubarak's exit? Precious Metals prices rose off their lows because they reached support, and traders recognized what a farce today's unemployment claims number was. In short, financial headline writers will never tell you the real reason Precious Metals prices are rising. That would mean telling you the truth...
Ron Paul: QE2 Is a "Total Failure" and Bernanke Is Delusional About Inflation
QE2 is a "total failure," except for those folks who work on Wall Street," Rep. Paul says. "It hasn't done anything for Main Street; hasn't done anything to give us real jobs; hasn't done anything for people who are losing their houses."
As for inflation, "I think there's plenty," Rep. Paul says, citing "skyrocketing" commodity prices and rising food prices. One problem is the Fed's reliance on core CPI, which famously excludes food and energy and relies on hedonic adjustments. "They rig that number," he says. "[Bernanke] looks at government stats that are fudged to reassure him he doesn't have to do anything."