Unemployment Is Up Again

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-08-14 Print this article Print

Unemployment is up again for the week ending Aug. 1, says the latest report from the Department of Labor. The numbers aren't staggering, but they once again illuminate the fuzzy picture of the economy and the serious issue of people out of work and trying to find it.

From the DoL report:

In the week ending Aug. 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 558,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 554,000. The 4-week moving average was 565,000, an increase of 8,500 from the previous week's revised average of 556,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.7 percent for the week ending Aug. 1, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 4.8 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 1 was 6,202,000, a decrease of 141,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,343,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,259,250, a decrease of 27,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 6,287,000.

So while the weekly rate went back up a tad, the overall numbers for the four-week average have been moving downward.

Some see this a a positive gain, and while it is, it is still a meager downward trend when you look at the larger picture and the expectations by many economists that unemployment will hit at or around 10 percent this year. The downward trend in unemployment speaks little to job acquisition and job growth, but rather to the state of layoffs right now in the summer.

Layoffs are expected in many industries, and keep coming in on a weekly basis.

Late July saw news of a major telecom player Verizon announcing up to 8,000 layoffs on the more traditonal wire line side fo that business. Sun Microsystems could see up to 10,000 layoffs according to one source, but it has been expected with its acquisition by Oracle. AOL is expected to have more layoffs. And good old IBM who just had more layoffs last week, has its union expecting up to 16,000 total layoffs for 2009.

Will the job cuts ever end?

"The job market is no longer skidding out of control," Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, told Bloomberg News on the latest job figures. Nonetheless, he said, "while the stimulus is helping the economy gain traction, we're not going to see a massive ramp-up in hiring because of it."

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