455,000 is the "benchmark" number for new unemployment claims. Every week--usually on Thursday--the government releases the number of new unemployment claims filed in the previous week (representing, by definition, layoffs). That weekly number of new unemployment claims AVERAGED 455,0000 for all of December (of 2009). It has NOT IMPROVED since the end of November, except for meaningless individual eeks. Remember this "benchmarks" Democrats used to point to in Iraq as necessary to show the improving situation? Well, unless and until the average weekly jobless claims number falls CONSISTENTLY below 455,000, Obama and the Democrats are making NO progress in the job market. For over nine months now, there has been NO progress--representing TOTAL FAILURE by Obama and the free spending Democrats in Congress.
The weekly number of new unemployment claims reported this Thursday is 465,000--up 12,000 from the REVISED 453,0000 reported last week. The number reported the previous week is REVISED every week, which means this week's number is PROBABLY around 468,000. The revisions over the past 4 months have been consistently UPWARD by 3 or 4 thousand. For example, last week's number was initially reported at 450,000. The media ignores these constant revisions, which makes their reporting a LIE (every single week, along with the other lies routinely contained i the mainstream media reporting of these numbers). For example, you may have seen headlines last week that the weekly jobless claims number "dropped", or inched down". A LIE. The REVISED number for last week was 453,0000. The REVISED number for the week before that was 453,0000. UNCHANGED (which is why I did no article last week). And the headlines today report a rise of 12,0000 (from the revised 453,000). If you have been paying attention, you realize that is a LIE. On an apples to apples basis, the increase for this week was 15,0000, from the initially reported 450,0000 last week. We don't yet have the REVISED figures for this week, which makes it INCORRECT to compare this week's unrevised number with last week's revised number. What is the media to do, since they don't have next week's revised number yet? well, they might try telling the TRUTH--like I do essentially every week. They should NOT report a "drop" in the weekly number (as they did last week), if they are comparing revised and unrevised figures. If they are going to report a rise of 12,000, they should telly you that such number is subject to revision, and that the revision has been consistently UPWARD 3 thousand or so.
Further, the weekly number is volatile (which means the media lies every time it reports one weekly number as meaning much). It i NOT a "concrete" number. It is a SUBJECTIVE number, based on seasonal adjustments each week (such adjustments being subject to massive human error in the adjustment formula used). The weekly number is especially unreliable around holidays--including going into holidays and coming out of holidays. That is because of many things, including the difficulty in figuring the appropriate seasonal adjustment when the holiday may fall at a different time of the month, or a different psychological time for the economy. The economy does not react tje same each year to each holiday, but the seasonal adjustment assumes it does. It is all more like witchcraft than "science". That is why the only way to look at these numbers is OVER TIME. This summer, we had a large spike in the weekly numbers, and average, in July-August--leading up to the Labor Day holiday. Did the economy react differently this year to the approaching end of summer? Maybe so. Then the weekly number apparently fell sharply, to 453,0000, right around the Labor Day holiday. Was that because of the distortion of the Labor Day holiday, combined with a little bit of a false reaction by the economy this year to the summer months? Maybe so.
Over time, however, these number show a convincing picture of FAILURE by the Obama Administration, and Democrats in Congress. The "stimulus" has not worked, and we have bankrupted ourselves for nothing. The four week average of new unemployment claims is still above 460,000, and ABOVE the average for December. This is after the summer months, when the average spiked above 480,0000. Since early May, the BOTTOM of the range of the weekly number has been basically that 455,000, which was the AVERAGE for all of December. The only exception was an obvious statistical glitch (which everyone admits) caused by that decision by GM (Government Motors) to not shut down for the standard two weeks at the beginning of July. See what I mean about the "seasonal adjustments" making the weekly number unreliable?
Since December, we have been STUCK in a range of 445,0000 to 490,0000. Since early May, that range has changed to an UPWARD bias of between 450,000 and 500,000. The four week average (disregarding that FALSE 429,000 number in early July) has stayed generally between 460,0,000 and 480,000 (with that one spike toward 490,000).
As stated, over time this is a record of TOTAL FAILURE since the beginning of December. We are not improving at all, and have gotten slightly wore. The best that can be said is that we have not fallen totally off a cliff (as appeared might be happening when the weekly number spiked above 500,000), but are still hanging on to the edge of the cliff with our fingernails. Now that the Labor Day holiday is past, we will probably get a better read on exactly where we are (until Thanksgiving and Christmas introduce volatility again). But--except to adjust the range slightly higher--we have not moved out of the same range since December.