It’s Thursday – Jobless Claims Rise Again

Gee, the weekly jobless numbers kind of make you wonder how the government came up with that 8.9% unemployment figure. The same week Gallup found unemployment was up over 10%. This week, jobless claims again rose more than predicted. How very unexpected.

First-time claims for jobless benefits rose last week from an almost three-year low, highlighting the uneven nature of the improvement in the U.S. labor market.

Applications for first-time unemployment benefits increased by 26,000 to 397,000 in the week ended March 5, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast claims would climb to 376,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The total number of people receiving benefits in the prior week fell to the lowest since October 2008.

Not to worry, though. It’s the President’s Day holiday that caused the problem.

“It’s the volatility around the Presidents’ Day holiday,” Jonathan Basile, director of U.S. economics at Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc. in New York said before the report. “The swings around this moving holiday sometimes distort the trend. The labor market has been improving. Firms feel better about the outlook because their sales have improved and the need to cut costs” has decreased. The Presidents’ Day holiday was Feb. 21.

Oh yes, President’s Day. That’s why so many people lost their jobs. It couldn’t have anything to do with the skyrocketing cost of food and fuel. Oh no, that would make too much sense.

In other economic news – PIMCO dumped US government debt from it’s biggest bond fund. What does that tell you about the US economy?