Jobless Claims Show American Job Machine Sputtering in Recovery

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Bob Willis, Andy Cinko and Michael McDonough
Jun 30, 2010

Almost a year ago, chief economic strategist Dan Greenhaus of Miller Tabak & Co. told his clients the U.S. economy would recover while jobs would be scarce. It would follow the pattern of the two prior so-called jobless rebounds, with unemployment climbing after the slumps ended.

“I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count the people I knew getting fired,” he said in a telephone interview from New York. “Companies over-fired during the recession and now demand is not picking up sufficiently to bring back a meaningful amount of people.”

Jobless claims, a gauge of firings, indicate Greenhaus’s July 2009 forecast may be coming true. Applications for jobless benefits have stalled in a range of 440,000 to 490,000 per week this year, a level Bruce Kasman says corresponds with payroll gains of about 100,000 a month, less than the number needed to reduce the unemployment rate.

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