Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jobless claims pushed to 7-year high

Hurricanes Ike and Gustav and weak economy push jobless claims to 7-year high

AP News

Sep 25, 2008 09:23 EST

New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to their highest level in seven years due to the impact of a slowing economy and Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The department said new requests for jobless benefits for the week ending Sept. 20 increased by 32,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 493,000, much higher than analysts' expectations of 445,000.

Wall Street was more focused on Washington, though, where lawmakers and the administration appeared to be moving closer to a $700 billion bailout package for the financial system. Stocks rose, with the Dow up more than 200 points in early trading.

The two hurricanes added about 50,000 new claims in Louisiana and Texas, the department said. The four-week moving average, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 462,500. That's the highest it has been since Nov. 3, 2001.

The level of new claims was the highest since shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when it reached 517,000.

David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities, said Thursday's figure is the second-highest since July 1992. Claims have topped 500,000 only a handful of times in the past twenty years, he said, and were consistently above that level during the 1991 recession.

Even excluding the effects of the hurricanes, jobless claims remain at elevated levels. Weekly claims have now topped 400,000 for ten straight weeks, a level economists consider a sign of recession. A year ago, claims stood at 309,000.

The report "reflects a marked deterioration in the job market," Resler wrote in a note to clients. "That deterioration may well accelerate as the distress in the financial markets deepens and the effect of credit impairment spreads to other sectors."

The number of people continuing to draw jobless benefits last week was 3.54 million, up 63,000 from the previous week and nearly a five-year high. The four-week average of continuing claims was 3.49 million.

Other economic indicators Thursday were also negative. The Commerce Department said that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods fell by 4.5 percent in August, far more than the 1.6 percent decline economists expected.

And new home sales fell by 11.5 percent in August, the Commerce Department said in a separate report, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 460,000, the lowest level in more than 17 years.

Hurricane Gustav first had an impact on jobless claims for the week ending Sept. 13. The department said Thursday that Louisiana reported an increase in claims of 18,409 during that week, mostly due to Gustav.

The financial crisis, falling home prices and slowing consumer spending continue to apply the brakes to the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level in five years.

Last week, drug maker Schering-Plough Corp. said it plans to cut 1,000 sales jobs to reduce costs, part of a 10 percent reduction in staff announced in April. Also, the nation's largest chicken producer, Pilgrim's Pride Corp., announced it would reduce 100 jobs besides the 600 job losses it previously announced.

Source: AP News

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Republicans: Proud of Deregulation

Let their own words hang them. If you vote for more of this shit then you deserve the economic hardship that is sure to follow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama Ad On Healthcare

Where has the discussion of health care gone? People will still get sick even in the middle of a financial meltdown.

The Truth About Middle Class Tax Cuts

No Bailout Without Ownership

There can be no bailout of Wall Street without ownership by the citizens of the United States of the companies requiring bailouts. Why should our hard earned money be used to prop up entities whose greed and shoddy business practices got us into this mess?

It is inevitable that the taxpayers will be called upon in order to stem the tide of damages being inflicted worldwide. What is also obvious is that the financial condition of this country is dire. We are the worlds largest debtor nation and our levels of consumer debt are at record levels. The Conservative mantra that deficits don't matter is ridiculous as is indicated in the constant decline of the U.S. dollar. We must get our financial house in order. How can we even consider tax cuts with a deficit expected to top one trillion dollars in the next fiscal year?

Will the United States have an Argentina like meltdown that will plunge a vast percentage of our population into poverty overnight? I believe that remains a possibility.

Please call your elected representatives and tell them a no strings bailout is unacceptable.