William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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GRIM ECONOMIC NEWS – AT 9:18 A.M. ET:  The Obama press is doing fast spin and attributing the figure to Hurricane Sandy, but I doubt that a hurricane could produce the stunning increase in jobless claims announced this morning...nine days after the election.

My, my, isn't it amazing how much bad news has come out since election day?  From Bloomberg, only minutes ago:

More Americans than forecast submitted claims for unemployment insurance last week as superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market.

Suddenly it's a superstorm.  It was a Category 1 hurricane.  But that's another story.

Applications for jobless benefits surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.

The extent of the damage means it may take weeks for the underlying trend in firings to again become clear. Before the storm, the labor market was gaining momentum even as year-end domestic fiscal policy uncertainties raised concern among businesses.

“Based on previous extreme-weather episodes, we typically see the associative claims coming in over several weeks,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, New York, said before the report. “It’s not a booming labor market, but it is a recovering labor market. Certainly prior to the storm, there was no sign that there was any deterioration.”

COMMENT:  The problem with that analysis is that it doesn't take account of 1) a rapidly declining stock market, which leads to layoffs, and 2) the announcements by firms that they're laying off large numbers of people because of the costs associated with Obamacare, which will soon come into full effect.

Not good, not good.  When you get claims over 400,000, it's considered very dangerous territory, possibly leading to a recession.  If we slip into a new recession, you may be sure it will be blamed on the hurricane. 

And who caused the hurricane, class?  BUSH (!!)  You'll hear it on MSNBC.

November 15, 2012