The green shoots in the labor market are also starting to wither.
The four week moving average of initial claims jumped by 6,000 to 630,500. The one week data showed an increase of 32,000 to 637,000. As always, concentrate on the four week number.
Blame for the increase is being laid at the doorstep of Chrysler. As they wind their way through bankruptcy, they have shut down production and laid off some 27,000 employees. Some argue that these workers should be excluded from the numbers as this is temporary, others point out that not all of these workers are likely to be recalled. I look it as one of those “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” type arguments and say just count ‘em.
The bottom line is that unemployment is not obviously getting worse, but it is also not getting better.