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Initial Jobless Claims

09/20/2012

This morning the Labor Department released weekly jobless figures for the week ending September 15.
 
Within our September calendar, we highlighted the importance of not only the September 7 Nonfarm Payrolls report but the weekly Initial Jobless Claims report throughout September.
 
Although temporary seasonal holiday retail and courier hiring will exist again this year, I expect the labor market will continue to be most impacted by the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming fiscal cliff. Enterprise will not embark upon any substantial hiring initiatives with potential spending and tax cuts looming. As books close on 2012, the calendar is also working against an improvement in labor conditions.   
 
In relation to the presidential election, let’s borrow an analogy from this season of football. Recently, it appears that President Obama has had a significant time of possession advantage with the ball. This morning’s disappointing jobless figures gives the ball back to Governor Romney. Whether or not he can advance the ball (in key battleground states) remains to be seen.
 
Latest unemployment rates for key battleground states (overall U.S. reported At 8.1%)*
•  Colorado 8.3%
•  Florida 8.8%
•  Iowa 5.35
•  Missouri 7.2%
•  Nevada 12.0%
•  New Hampshire 5.4%
•  North Carolina 9.6%
•  Ohio 7.2%
•  Virginia  5.9%
•  Wisconsin 7.3%
 
*Note: U.S. Labor Department updates state unemployment rates on Friday, September 21, 10 a.m. 
 
Within this report:
•  States with large INCREASES in claims were Louisiana 6,678 & Mississippi 1,067 (The Bureau of Labor Statistics blames the rise on Tropical storm Isaac).
•  States with large DECREASES in claims were California 8,163, New York 3,449, Michigan 2,115, Pennsylvania 1,624, Iowa 1,214, Nevada 1,082 and Texas 1,017. 
 
This week’s Initial Jobless Claims data:
•  Initial jobless claims fell only 3,000 to 382,000, worse than estimates for a 10,000 decline to 375,000.
•  Last week’s 382,000 figure was revised higher to 385,000. 
•  The 4-week moving average rose from 375,750 to 377,750.
•  Continuing claims fell by 332,000 to 3.27 million.
•  Those collecting emergency and extended payments fell by 60,700 to 2.16 million.
•  The unemployment rate for those eligible for benefits held at 2.6%.
 
Figure 1.1 Initial Jobless claims 4-Week Moving Average Year To Date

Source: Bloomberg

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