The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits surged to a 26-year high as the labor market worsened in a yearlong recession.
Initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 24,000 to 467,000 in the week that ended Jan. 3, the lowest level in almost three months, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The total number of people getting benefits rose a week earlier to 4.6 million, the most since 1982.
While the government projects a surge in firings in late December and early January, job cuts may have come earlier last year as sinking sales and the worst credit conditions in seven decades forced companies such as General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC to pare costs. The claims report came as President- elect Barack Obama warned the U.S. risks sinking deeper into an economic crisis without a stimulus package of about $775 billion.
“The labor market is just hemorrhaging here,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. in New York, who correctly forecast claims would fall. “Just look at the continuing claims numbers, they give you a better idea of what is going on. Nobody can find work once they’re fired.”
This is not looking good.
However, I still think (maybe it's a wild hope) that we're in the absolute worst part of the storm right now. I am hoping it will get better by the end of the second quarter.