Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 352,000 from the previously reported 350,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 365,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 1,500 to 375,500.
Claims data is volatile in July because of the timing of the annual auto plant shutdowns for retooling.
Automakers are not embarking on wholesale plant shutdowns, throwing off the model that the department uses to smooth the data for typical seasonal patterns.
A Labor Department official said they were still experiencing volatility related to the auto layoffs that usually happen at this time of year.
So jobless claims are up despite automakers not going through with the plant shutdowns they normally do. Interesting. On top of this we see that home sales drop to 5.4%, the lowest they’ve been since October. On top of this the U.S. Chamber reports that only 20% of small businesses plan to hire in 2013. Probably because they realized somebody else built their business, so why spend more money on hiring?
Then because our government wants to wrap its loving arms around people, and by that I mean they want to spend our money, the USDA is partnering with Mexico to boost food stamp participation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack found one Bush Administration policy he actually likes (this was started in 2004). Vilsack is on the record saying he believes food stamps provide economic stimulus, so why wouldn’t he want to expand the program?
I’m surprised that this isn’t a wildly popular program when people have used EBT cards to purchase booze, cigarettes, and lap dances. Considering that food stamp participation is at an all time high, the food stamp president shouldn’t have a hard time getting elected.
Hope and change.
HT: Drudge Report