THE FALTERING ECONOMY – AT 9:27 A.M. ET: The Labor Department has just issued its weekly jobless claims report, and it isn't encouraging. From Bloomberg:
More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that progress in the labor market is faltering amid a slowing economy.
Jobless claims were little changed at 374,000 in the week ended Aug. 25, matching the upwardly revised figure from the prior week, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 370,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, climbed to a six-week high.
Companies will probably remain concerned about the possibility that taxes will rise and government spending will be cut unless lawmakers act by January. Fiscal turmoil in the 17- member euro area and a slowdown in China may also prompt employers to keeping payrolls lean.
Claims have “moved sideways most of the year,” said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York. “Hirings are what’s lacking at this point.”
COMMENT: There aren't too many reports left until the election. The claims figure is approaching the 400,000 mark, universally considered a serious danger sign.
Whatever recovery we have is faltering, making a compelling argument for the notion that this mess could go on for years without a change in leadership. As Paul Ryan asked last night, why would anyone think that the next four years will be different, under Obama's administration, than the last four?
August 30, 2012