Archive for November, 2009

Jobless claims plummet to 14-month low

NEW YORK ( — The number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell to 466,000, the lowest level in 14 months, according to a government report released Wednesday.

That’s the lowest number in the Labor Department figures since the week ended Sept. 13, 2008, and a decrease of 35,000 from the previous week’s 501,000.

A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by expected 500,000 new claims in the week ended Nov. 21.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 496,500, down 16,500 from the previous week’s average of 513,500.


UC Tuition Raise is Good

Some interesting points on why raising UC tuition is a good idea, see here.

California Unemployment Rate Hits 12.5 Percent

There is good news here, we didn’t lose jobs. Perhaps the worst is over!

California’s unemployment rate rose to 12.5 percent in October to set another modern record, even though more than 25,000 Californians found jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

Solid U.S. Economic Recovery

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg)

The U.S. economic recovery will extend into next year as manufacturing expands and the pace of firings abates, reports today indicated.

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, rose 0.3 percent in October, preserving a string of gains that began in April. Other reports showed claims for jobless benefits held at a 10-month low and Philadelphia-area manufacturing accelerated.

The rally in stock prices, low short-term interest rates and slowing job losses that propelled the leading index signal consumer confidence and spending are likely to stabilize, limiting the risk the economy will retrench. The data supported Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s forecast today that the emerging expansion will be sustained into 2010.

US Retailers See Signs of Stabilisation

Some good news from the Financial Times:

Home Depot, the second largest US retailer by sales, expressed guarded optimism on Tuesday over the stabilisation of the US housing market, but cautioned that its store sales results were still in ‘less bad’ rather than positive territory.

The home improvement retailer said that sales in 36 of its top 40 markets showed sequential improvements in comparable sales at the end of its third quarter, on a rolling six-week average basis. It also said it was continuing to see signs of stabilisation in sales in California, Florida and Arizona.

Frank Blake, chief executive, also welcomed the fact that the percentage of US GDP devoted to private fixed residential investment (PFRI) also remained flat, rather than falling during the third quarter – data the company has used as an indicator of overall health of its customers.

Living Standards

From Carpe Diem:

1. The material well-being of families in the United States improved dramatically, as demonstrated by the change over time in the percentage of expenditures allocated for food, clothing, and housing. In 1901, the average U.S. family devoted 79.8 percent of its spending to these necessities. By 2002–03, allocations on necessities had been reduced substantially, for U.S. families to 50.1% of spending (see top chart above).

MP: As I wrote in a previous post: Teenagers today can afford products today like cell phones with cameras, digital cameras, GPS systems, CD players, DVD players, laptop computers, and iPods that even a billionaire couldn’t have purchased 2 0 years ago. As much as we might complain, just by being alive in the 21st century America, even if you’re earning the minimum wage, you’ve already “won first prize in the lottery of life.”


I WANT, but I Don’t WANT to Spend

This is why I love economics, see a problem here? A survey from the PPIC via the Sacramento Bee:

The PPIC poll found that strong majorities of Californians believe that state budget cuts and affordability are major problems with the University of California, state college and university and community college systems, while holding all three in high esteem.

Despite their concern about the colleges, strong majorities of those responding to the PPIC poll were unwilling to either raise college fees or taxes to offset reductions in state support.