Jobless Claims (week of 10.16.10) Research Notes

by Jim Baird on October 21, 2010

Although weekly jobless claims came in slightly better than anticipated, it was accompanied by a negative revision to the prior weekly results.

The four-week moving average remains stuck at a stubbornly elevated level of 458,000. 

Employers continue to shed jobs at a pace indicative of a weak labor recovery, consistent with sub-par economic growth.

Although initial jobless claims have bounced around throughout much of this year, there has been no meaningful improvement since the beginning of the year.

Private sector employment has improved and there has been net job creation in recent months.  Nonetheless, the pace of job creation remains lackluster, consistent with an overall outlook on the part of the business sector that is skeptical at best.

We may see some marginal improvement in sentiment as the pace of deceleration in U.S. economic growth is showing signs of stabilizing.  Nonetheless, both consumer and business confidence seem destined to remain challenged.

Anxiety about sub-par growth expectations, uncertainty about future tax policy, and lingering problems in the housing and credit markets are not simply going to dissipate with a few good data points.  They are likely to weigh on our collective mood to varying degrees for some time.

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