Policy Points

08.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Weekend Wonk Out

Weekend Wonk Out

A round-up of policy reports from the week ending on 1/8:

08.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on National Employment Situation: Dec.

National Employment Situation: Dec.

New national employment data for December show that the economy shed 85,000 more positions than it created. Since the recession’s onset in December 2007, over 7 million positions have been eliminated with net job losses occurring in 22 of the last 23 months. Over the past two years, the unemployment rate has risen to 10 percent, and the number of unemployed persons nearly has doubled.

In December, the nation’s employers eliminated 85,000 more payroll positions than they added. Although the November payroll data were revised upward (to +4,000 positions from -11,000), downward revisions to the October data more than offset the gains. Additional downward revisions are expected when annual data adjustments are released in February.

Additionally in December,  15.3 million Americans – 10 percent of the labor force –  were jobless and actively seeking work. Proportionally more adult male workers were unemployed than female ones (10.2 percent vs. 8.2 percent). Similarly, unemployment rates were higher among Black (16.2 percent) and Hispanic workers (12.9 percent) than among White ones (9 percent).

Click here to read South by North Strategies’ analysis of the December employment report.

08.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on A Looming Question

A Looming Question

From the transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting …

Some participants remained concerned about the economy’s ability to generate a self-sustaining recovery without government support. In particular, they noted the risk that improvements in the housing sector might be undercut next year [2010] as the Federal Reserve’s purchases of MBS wind down, the homebuyer tax credits expire, and foreclosures and distress sales continue.

07.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Around the Dial – Jan. 7

Around the Dial – Jan. 7

Economic policy reports, blog postings, and media stories of interest:

07.01.2010 Policy Points Comments Off on Unemployment Claims in NC: Week of 12/19

Unemployment Claims in NC: Week of 12/19

For the benefit week ending on December 19th, 13,230 North Carolinians filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, and 185,313 individuals applied for state-funded continuing insurance benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were fewer initial and continuing claims. (The filing week, however, had fewer business days due to the Christmas holiday.) These figures come from data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Averaging new and continuing claims over a four-week period — a process that helps adjust for seasonal fluctuations and better illustrates trends — shows that an average of 19,954 initial claims were filed over the last four weeks, along with an average of 193,955 continuing claims. Compared to the previous four-week period, initial claims were lower, continuing claims higher.

One year ago, the four-week average for initial claims stood at 28,106 and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 161,112.

The graph (right) shows the changes in unemployment insurance claims (as a share of covered employment) in North Carolina since the recession’s start in December 2007.

Although new and continuing claims appear to have peaked for this business cycle, the claims levels remain elevated and point to a labor market that remains extremely weak. Especially troubling is the high level of continuing claims, which suggests that unemployed individuals are finding it extremely difficult to find new positions.