Friday, November 07, 2008

Unemployed

How Reaganesque.

The number of U.S. residents collecting state unemployment benefits reached the highest level in 25 years, rising by 122,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.84 million in the week ending Oct. 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of first-time applications for benefits fell by 4,000 to 481,000 in the week ending Nov. 1, the government agency added. Compared with the same week a year ago, new jobless claims are up about 45%, while continuing claims are up 46%.
The last time things were this good was 1983, when the unemployment rate was above 10 percent for half the year. If you aren't collecting unemployment benefits, you probably know someone who is.

UPDATE: As usual, the Friday news dump offers more good news.

Squeezed by tight credit and plunging spending power, the American economy is losing jobs at the fastest pace since 2001, and the losses could accelerate to levels not seen since the deep recession of the early 1980s.

Employers shed 240,000 more jobs in October, the government reported Friday morning, the 10th consecutive monthly decline and a clear signal that the economic slowdown is troubling households and businesses.

Since August, the economy has lost 651,000 jobs — more than three times as many as were lost from May to July. So far, 1.2 million jobs have been lost this year.

[...]

The unemployment rate climbed to 6.5 percent, the highest level since 1994 and up from 6.1 percent the month before.
It appears that we soon will be looking back fondly on the days when "only" 3.84 million Americans were collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

UPDATE 2: One week later, soon is here.

The number of U.S. workers drawing jobless benefits hit a 25-year high this month and imports suffered a record fall in September, according to reports on Thursday that underscored a rapid drop-off in the U.S. economy.

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose by an unexpectedly steep 32,000 last week to 516,000, the highest since the weeks following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the Labor Department said.

The number of workers still on the benefit rolls after drawing an initial week of aid hit 3.9 million in the week to November 1, the highest since January 1983.

"This is obviously very, very serious deterioration in the labor market, more than a lot of people had expected even a couple of months ago," said Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We are looking at the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and the biggest economic crisis we have had in the United States since the early 1980s."

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