Nowhere is the fickle economy more evident than in the unstable job numbers, in which an economic snapshot takes shape when jobs data is analyzed, only to change again the following month after a round of fresh data is released.
Another sign of an increasingly weak job market came today, when it was announced that last week the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits climbed by the most in a month.
The Labor Dept. said that unemployment applications rose by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000, the second increase in three weeks and the 11th straight week that applications have been above 400,000.
The four-week average for unemployment benefit applications was unchanged at 426,250 last week.
Applications dropped below 400,000 in February and stayed this way for seven of the following nine weeks.
The Washington Post reports that the economy needs to generate at least 125,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. And at least twice that many jobs are needed to bring down the unemployment rate, which rose to 9.1 percent in May.
“We need initial claims to fall back below 400,000 to signal stronger economic growth than the area we seem to be mired in,” analysts John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros at RDQ told the Post.