Thursday, September 23, 2010

I don't know why Fox News - or, for that matter, any news organization - would use the word 'unexpectedly' in referring to last week's rise in first time unemployment claims.

First, as was pointed out last week, due to a number of states having problems reporting real numbers due to the Labor Day holiday, government bureaucrats simply made up numbers for that week... and, as some wags speculated, perhaps in a way that under-reported layoffs. If so, when the real numbers became available, the under-reported layoffs were added to the number of layoffs from last week, thereby boosting the number of what is being reported as last weeks layoffs.

Second, is there any reason for anyone to think that employers are suddenly more optimistic about the future? As layoffs are primarily a result of a lack of employer confidence (they fear that future revenues will not be sufficient to cover current payroll and other operating expenses and thus reduce staff), I have seen nothing to indicate that anyone is more optimistic about the economy this week than they were last week. And when employers get nervous, they cut jobs.

To say that the rise in last week's unemployment claims was 'unexpected' means that somebody at Fox News just isn't paying attention.

Here's someone who was paying attention...