A Long Way to Go

By Patricia L Johnson

The unemployment insurance weekly claims report for the week ending November 8, 2008 has an advance seasonally adjusted figure of 516,000, indicating an increase of 32,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average hit 491,000, an increase of 13,250 from the previous month.  The last time seasonally adjusted weekly claims hit half a million was during the week ending September 29, 2001, when 517,000 claims were filed.

During the week ending 11/01/2008 [latest data available] six states, Arizona (1,692), Arkansas (1,360), Washington (1,202), Texas (1,201), Alabama (1,088)and Tennessee (1,018) all had increases in first time unadjusted unemployment claims of more than 1,000. 

Three states, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all had an increase, in unadjusted initial claims, of more than 2,000 during the week.  Ohio came out the real loser with an increase of almost 4,000 layoffs.

Chart0005 Click chart for larger version.

Ohio and Michigan attributed their job losses to layoffs in the automobile industry, while Pennsylvania losses were  in the mining, construction, service, and printing/publishing industries.  Wisconsin layoffs were also diversified with losses in the construction, trade, service, transportation, and warehousing industries.

The report is not all bad news as both California, (-3,603) and Florida, (-2,327) came in with fewer layoffs compared to the previous week. 

The report for U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services for the month of September 2008 was also released today and it’s not difficult to figure out why the automobile manufacturers are having so many layoffs.  September 2008 to date we have only exported $11 billion in motor vehicles and parts, while we have imported $18 billion [not seasonally adjusted].

The import/export figures include passenger cars, trucks, buses, special purpose vehicles and parts.

The pundits thought we hit the bottom yesterday on the DJIA, but we’re not even close when you look at the total picture.  We have a long way to go.

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