October 02, 2003

Continued Weak Labor Market

Yet more bad labor market news. It is starting to look not just like tomorrow's employment report will be depressing, but that the unemployment report released a month from now will be depressing as well:

Jobless claims rise to 399,000 in latest week - Oct. 2, 2003: NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Jobless claims rose last week, the government said Thursday, bouncing back to near the 400,000 level that many economists believe is a benchmark for labor-market weakness. The Labor Department report said 399,000 people filed for benefits in the week ended Sept. 27, compared with a revised reading of 386,000 in the prior week. Economists, on average, expected 395,000 new claims, according to Briefing.com.

Posted by DeLong at October 2, 2003 06:55 AM | TrackBack


The NYTimes has a good article on the employment picture and a good graphic showing the balance between job loss and job creation.

The point of the article is that job loss has declined from Bush administration highs, but job creation is way down from Clinton era highs.


Posted by: bakho on October 2, 2003 08:58 AM

The BLS report on job creation/loss is on their site:


Posted by: bakho on October 2, 2003 09:03 AM

did they have to try very hard to keep the figure below 400,000, how close to 399,499 was it?

Posted by: big al on October 2, 2003 09:09 AM

The surge in job loss and decline in job creation follows the Fed interest rate increases and the decrease in job loss follows the interest rate cuts. However, job creation never recovers.

Bush steel tariffs along with low interest rates and tax cuts to the investor class have made it profitable to invest in parts manufacturing in cheap labor markets overseas with access to cheap steel. The tax cuts have provided the investor class with more capital to set up competing businesses overseas. Bad fiscal policy leads to jobless recovery.

Posted by: bakho on October 2, 2003 09:14 AM

Again, we have the question of where the extra needed demand will come from to spur employment. Again, there is little possibility for the rest of the year.

Posted by: anne on October 2, 2003 10:27 AM


Recently released data from the U.S Census Bureau show that working families experienced extended unemployment and a decline in earnings from 2000 to 2002.

Posted by: anne on October 2, 2003 11:39 AM

The best showing from jobless claims since February was ahead of the August jobs report, which showed a 93k job loss. Not so sure the old 400k claims rule-of-thumb holds today. I'm waiting to see something around 360-370 before I start to feel frisky.

Posted by: K Harris on October 2, 2003 12:26 PM


From 2000 to 2002, the share of working families with children having one or more parents unemployed for 13 weeks or longer rose from 4.6% to 7.3%. For African American families, the picture is even worse: fully one in 10 African American working families with children had one or more parents out of work for 13 or more weeks in 2002, up from 7.1% in 2000.

The impact on family earnings is predictable given the growth in unemployment. The median earnings of working families with children fell 2.6% from $49,319 in 2000 to $48,046 in 2002 (2002 dollars).

Posted by: anne on October 2, 2003 12:46 PM

I'm starting to hear a lot of spin about how 6% unemployment isn't all that bad. After all it was 9%...

This just goes to show how clueless these people are. People vote their pocketbooks based on the way they experience the economy, not what they are told about the economy.

Clark hits this nail on the head when he talks about the "doctrinaire ideology that doesn't really understand the country that we're living in."

Posted by: bakho on October 2, 2003 12:52 PM
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