Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jobless Claims Tumble?

According to the headlines at CNN Money, there was a great decline in the number of jobless claims last week, supposedly indicating a pick-up in the economy after the Katrina shock. Yet if you look at the actual Department of Labor statistics, you can see that the insured unemployment rate rose 0.1%:point, to 2.2%, from 2.1% (It was 2.0% before Katrina).

The reason for this discrepancy is that the CNN Money writer was referring to the initial claims, while the insured unemployment rates also includes continued claims. But surely the total must be more important as the employment situation isn't better if there are fewer fired but even fewer hired at the same time. One would think that someone hired by a mayor news organization to write about economics would grasp such a basic truth, but apparently not.


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