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New weekly jobless claims 751,000 for the week ended October 31, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

Economists had expected 7450,000 initial claims. The prior week’s claims, initially reported at 751,000, was revised up to 758,000.

The 4-week moving average fell to 787,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average. Many economists think this is a better measure of the labor market than the weekly number, which can be volatile.

Despite the decline, jobless claims—which are a proxy for layoffs—remain at extremely high levels. Prior to the pandemic, the highest level of claims was 695,000 hit in October of 1982. In March of 2009, jobless claims peaked at 665,000.

Continuing claims, those made after the initial filing for benefits, fell to 7,285,000, a decrease of 538,000 from the previous week’s revised level. These get reported with a week’s lag so this number is for the week ended October 24.

Prior to the pandemic, the highest level of continuing claims was 6.6 million in June of 2009.

The previous week’s level was revised up 67,000 from 7,756,000 to 7,823,000. The 4-week moving average was 8,244,500, a decrease of 827,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 18,500 from 9,053,250 to 9,071,750.

Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 27. Through spring and early summer, each subsequent week had seen claims decline. But in late July, the labor market appeared to stall and claims hovered around one million throughout August, a level so high it was never recorded before the pandemic struck. Claims moved down again in September and have made slow, if steady, progress since.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending October 17 were in Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, California, and Nevada. For the country overall, the insured unemployment rate fell to 5.0. This is different from the unemployment rate the government will report on Friday because it counts only jobless claims covered by unemployment insurance, while the broader unemployment rate includes all looking for a job but out of work.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending October 24 were in Illinois and Michigan.

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: Jobless Claims Dip to 751,000, Lowest Since March

The Philadelphia Fed’s gauge of the manufacturing sector unexpected surged higher in October, soaring beyond typical prepandemic levels.

The Philly Fed’s manufacturing index jumped to 32.3 in October from 15 in September. Economists had expected the index to slide to 13.5.

The Philly Fed said the results indicate “widespread optimism” about the next six months.

This is not just the highest reading since the pandemic, it is one of the highest readings of the entire Trump administration and far above the historical average for the index.

The index, which is compiled each month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia from surveys of manufacturers in the region, has only exceeded 30 eight times between 2010 and now. Six of those were in three years of the Trump administration prior to the pandemic, a reflection of the Trump administration’s policies that strengthened manufacturing in the U.S.

This was the fifth consecutive month of improvement for the general current activity measure.

The survey’s current indicators for new orders and and shipments also improved. Most future indexes increased and continue to reflect optimism among firms about growth over the next six month, the Philly Fed said.

The new orders gauge registered a record high in data going back to 1968.

On balance, firms reported increased employment for month, the fourth straight month of rising employment. The number of firms reporting increased employment, however, slipped. Plans for future hiring hit the highest level in 12 years.

The Philly Fed also asked manufacturers about their plans for capital spending over the next year.

“For all five categories of investment spending (software, noncomputer equipment, computer equipment, structure, and energy-saving investments), the share of firms expecting to increase spending was higher than the share of firms expecting to decrease spending. On balance, the firms expect larger increases for software and noncomputer equipment,” the Philly Fed said.

The survey covers businesses in the eastern two-thirds of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: Philly’s Back: Fed Manufacturing Index Unexpectedly Surges to Prepandemic Heights

Job openings increased for a third consecutive month in July, handily surpassing economic forecasts for the month.

The number of jobs available to U.S. workers rose to 6.618 million during the month, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Wednesday.

That not only beat expectations for 5.95 million openings, it exceeded the upper range of estimates by economists survey by Econoday.

June’s figure was revised up to just over 6 million from 5.889 million.

Job openings represent positions available to new workers. Positions offered only internally or workers called back from layoffs are not counted in the figure.

The quits rate rose to 2.1 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to 1.2 percent. Both are positive developments. Economists believe a rising quits rate typically indicates workers are becoming more confident they can find better jobs.

Job openings rose in a number of industries, with the largest increases in retail trade, which added 172,000. Health care and social assistance openings rose 146,000, and construction openings rose by 90,000.

Manufacturing job openings rose to 408,000 from 346,000 in June.

The number of job openings increased in the South and Midwest regions.

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: U.S. Job Openings Jump Much Higher Than Expected

Fewer than one million U.S. workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the final week of August, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.

The government said 881,000 new claims for the week ending August 29, a new low for unemployment claims since the labor market was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists had forecast 958,000 new claims, down from the 1.006 million initially reported for the prior week. The prior week was revised up by 5,000 to 1,011,000.

Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 27. Until a month ago, each subsequent week had seen claims decline. But in late July, the labor market appeared to stall and claims have since hovered around one million, a level so high it was never recorded before the pandemic struck.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs and have been closely watched as a signal for how the pandemic is influencing the economy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week it was changing the method employed for adjusting initial jobless claims to account for seasonal swings in employment. This means that this week’s claims figures are not directly comparable to those of the prior weeks. It is likely that the now-retired method for making seasonal adjustments had inflated the level of claims over the past month or so.

The unadjusted initial jobless claim rose slightly to 833,352 from 825,761, the fifth straight week in which unadjusted claims have been below 1 million. Claims typically rise at the end of summer as seasonal work ends.

A Distorted Picture of the Labor Market

Jobless claims can create a distorted picture of the labor market because they measure only job losses and not gains. Despite hundreds of thousands of new claims, continuing claims during the week ending August 22 fell to 13,254,000, a decrease of 1,238,000 from the previous week’s revised level. These figures are reported with a week’s lag.

The insured unemployment rate was 9.1 percent for the week ending August 22, a decline of eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. This is calculated on a different basis than the unemployment rate that will be reported in tomorrow’s employment report. That rate includes all those looking for work rather than just those collecting unemployment insurance.

Where the Job Losses Hit Hardest

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending August 15 were in:

Hawaii (18.6),
Nevada (16.4),
California (16.3),
Puerto Rico (16.1),
New York (15.2),
Connecticut (14.0),
Louisiana (13.3),
Georgia (12.6),
the Virgin Islands (11.8),
District of Columbia (11.7),
and Massachusetts (11.7).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending August 22 were in:

California (+6,562),
Illinois (+3,856),
Pennsylvania (+1,926),
Kansas (+1,061),
and Rhode Island (+503).

The largest decreases were in

Florida (-21,127),
Texas (-9,248),
New Jersey (-5,235),
Virginia (-3,715),
and North Carolina (-3,708).

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: Jobless Claims Fall to 881,000, Lowest Since Pandemic Hit

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the American economy into a deep contraction and sent unemployment soaring but Americans approve of President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis.

Approval of President Trump’s handling of the economy rose to 52 percent, the highest level of his presidency, CNBC’s “All America” survey showed Wednesday. That is up from 49 percent in December.

The survey of 800 Americans was taken between Friday and Monday.

Trump’s overall approval rating jumped as well, to 46 percent from 40 percent. That too is the best ranking of the Trump presidency.

Trump is even scoring higher marks from Democrats. His job approval rating rose to 20 percent among Democrats, a record high and up from 8 percent in December.

The high marks are all the more notable because the survey also reveals that ten percent of Americans say they lost their jobs because of the outbreak. Another 16 percent have had their pay cut.

Forty-five percent of Americans rate the economy as poor. Twenty-two percent rate it as “fair,” making for a combined 77 percent taking a dim view of the economy. That’s up 20 points from December and the worst of Trump’s presidency. Such pessimism was common, however, during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The survey’s results show that the economic contraction due to the virus has been severe but Americans remain optimistic. Fifty-one percent say they expect the economy to improve in the next year. Forty-nine percent expect the economy to return to normal in the next few months. Just six percent think the effects of the shutdown will last longer than a year.

Only one percent of Americans say they expect to lose their job in the next few weeks, suggesting that Americans think the worst of the shutdown’s damage to the labor market may be over. A further eight percent expect that they will suffer a pay cut in the next few weeks.

Americans are not blaming President Donald Trump for Trump’s job rating rose in the poll, with more Americans approving of his handling of the presidency than disapproving for the first time in the three years it’s been tracked by CNBC. His approval rating jumped to 46% from 40% in December, with a 6-point decline in disapproval to 43%.

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: Trump’s Economic Approval Rating Hits Highest Level Ever

Small business owners are increasingly applauding the work of President Donald Trump.

Sixty-four percent of small business owners approve of Trump’s job performance as president, according to a survey released Thursday by CNBC and Survey Monkey. That was a four-point gain from the prior survey taken at the end of 2019.

That is the highest approval rating since the quarterly survey was launched in 2017.

The survey was taken between February 2 and February 10, a period in which the Senate was holding its impeachment trial and eventually voted to acquit the president.

The percentage of small business owners who say they “strongly approve” of how Trump is handling his job rose to 47 percent. The “strongly approve” rating had never previously been above 40 percent.

“This is a high watermark for President Trump’s job approval, both among small business owners in our survey and among the general public,” said SurveyMonkey senior research scientist Laura Wronski.

Small business owners skew more Republican than Democrat, giving Trump an edge with this group. But CNBC reports that Trump saw a big jump in his approval by business owners who identify as independents, with his approval rating rising from 37 percent to 43 percent.

Trump received high marks from both women and men who owned small businesses. Fifty percent of male small business owners said they strongly approve of the president and 15 percent said they somewhat approve. Forty-two percent of women strongly approve and 19 percent somewhat approve.

Trump still provokes strong feelings in those that oppose him. Very few small business owners only “somewhat disapprove” of Trump, just 6 percent in the latest survey. Twenty-nine percent strongly disapprove.

Optimism is up among small business owners, with 56 percent saying economic conditions are good and only 7 percent saying they are bad. Sixty percent say they expect sales to increase over the next 12 months and only 6 percent expect a decline. Thirty-two percent said they expect payrolls to grow and just 5 percent see them shrinking.

Author: John Carney

Source: Breitbart: Trump’s Approval Rating Among Small Business Owners Soars to All-Time High

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