In The Obama Economy 344,000 Initial Jobless Claims Is Good News

unemployment help wanted

Everyone is celebrating this morning that initial jobless claims fell more than expected, after last week’s number was revised upward. But only in the Obama economy do we celebrate 344,000 Americans losing their jobs.

Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, showing companies were looking beyond looming government spending cuts and maintaining staffing.

Jobless claims decreased by 22,000 to 344,000 in the holiday-shortened week that ended Feb. 23, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 360,000 applications. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance dropped to the lowest level since June 2008.

But it’s not all good news.

Almost perfectly offsetting this choppiness in the main headline data is the swings in Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits which rose 8.5% or 187k this week. One thing is for sure, the last two months have seen an unprecedented amount of noise in the claims data that we can only put down to seasonally-affected-disorder (or statistical idiocy with 5 sigma swings each week).

Also in the news this week, durable goods orders fell a whopping 5.2% in January, which doesn’t bode well. Neither does the anemic 0.1% revised 4th quarter 2012 GDP growth. But I’m sure the media will just report all of the “good news” today. Yay!