New unemployment claims in the U.S. declined by 34,000 last week to 407,000 for the week ending November 20, the lowest level since July 2008. The number of unemployed continuing to receive regular jobless benefits in the U.S. dropped by 142,000 to 4.18 million the week prior. And the ranks of those “now collecting emergency and extended payments decreased by about 262,000 to 4.66 million” in the week ended November 6.
The U.S. unemployment rate is, however, holding at 9.6% (versus 9.3% in San Francisco).
U.S. Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest Since July 2008 [Bloomberg]
San Francisco County Unemployment Falls To 9.3% In October [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Marten

    Because we’ve run out of unemployment extensions.

  2. Posted by SFHawkguy

    There’s really nothing to be thankful about unless one wishes to fool the people into thinking there’s been a job recovery.
    Unemployment is about as bad as it’s been:
    http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts
    I suspect the reason the official unemployment is looking better is benefits are expiring and people stop looking for work.

  3. Posted by EH

    Marten is right.

  4. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Marten is partially wrong. The 407k is for first time unemployment claims, extensions are not a factor.
    More detail is needed on the continuing claims to really see if it is people maxing out their benefits and falling off or are more people finding work and rolling off before they max out their benefits.

  5. Posted by A.T.

    This is certainly good news, a bit of a leading indicator on unemployment generally. However, the new claims are still very high, and the overall rate remains steady, and we need to have far greater economic growth before we’ll see real improvements in unemployment. The Dems have totally capitulated to the Repubs on this issue, and efforts to help the unemployed get jobs or further benefits will be weak, I fear. Why the Dems have not gone to bat for people who need jobs is a real head-scratcher.

  6. Posted by jon

    Stores do tend to hire additional help during the xmas season…..

  7. Posted by EH

    Hmm, I stand corrected but I don’t think it’s necessarily good news when we could just be running out of people to lay off. Point being, it doesn’t speak to people getting jobs and being allowed to earn money again.

  8. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Jon, that’s why the numbers are seasonally adjusted.

  9. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    We have talked about how absurd the Shadowstats inflation numbers are in another thread, why should I think that their unemployment numbers are any better?
    407k isn’t really anything to celebrate, but it does mean that things are probably not getting any worse on the employment front. The recovery continues to be frustratingly slow.

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