Down a bit.

Jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to 307,000 in the week ended Jan. 17, from a revised 317,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed on Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, climbed to 306,500 last week, the highest since mid July, from 300,000.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 15,000 to 2.44 million in the week ended Jan. 10. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

The number of filings was higher than Bloomberg’s “experts” predicted. Bloomberg implies that this is somehow a commentary on the unemployment figures, when it is actually a commentary on their “experts.”

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At The Guardian, Suzanne Moore points out that an economy is not natural, like a tree. It’s man-made. Here’s a bit.

Most of us – I count myself – are economically inept. The economic climate is represented as a natural force, like uncontrollable weather. It’s a shame that the planet is getting hotter, just as it’s a shame that the rich are getting richer. But these things are man-made and not inevitable at all. In fact, there are deliberate and systemic reasons as to why this is happening.

The rich, via lobbyists and Byzantine tax arrangements, actively work to stop redistribution. Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered. Many mainstream economists do not question the degree of this engineering, even when it is highly dubious. This level of acceptance among economists of inequality as merely an unfortunate byproduct of growth, alongside their failure to predict the crash, has worryingly not affected their cult status among blinkered admirers.

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15 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The experts x-spurts unknown drips under pressure are not sure to what extent this reflects the normal post-Christmas retail layoffs.

Jobless claims climbed by 19,000 to 316,000 in the week ended Jan. 10, the most since early September, from a revised 297,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 51,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended Jan. 3. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits declined to 1.8 percent from 1.9 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

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13 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Youngster keeps being told, at every stage of life,

Via Job’s Anger.

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06 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

This is not a surprise.

In what academics call neoclassical economics, human beings are largely rational, self-interested decision-makers. This stereotypical human, often referred to as Homo economicus, is a creature of coldly calculated selfishness, dispassionately maximizing its best interests even if that comes at the expense of others.

A study in Japan shows that Homo economicus makes up only a minority of the population, but a minority with a wide range of unusual personality traits, including a touch of psychopathy.

More at the link.

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05 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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18 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Somewhat better.

Jobless claims decreased by 6,000 to 289,000 in the week ended Dec. 13, the fewest since early November, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, declined to 298,750 from 299,500 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 147,000 to 2.37 million in the week ended Dec. 6, unwinding the previous week’s surge. Insured unemployment had jumped to 2.52 million in the period ended Nov. 29, which was the highest since August.

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13 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Indeed.

Nearly $1.5 million in debt, the Minnesota Republican Party is using a line of credit to help it through recent cash crunches.

The party owes $75,000 on a line of credit at Alliance Bank for loans taken out in late October and November, according to federal finance reports filed this month. It owes another $85,000 in other bank loans.

All told, the party had $990,000 in debt in its federal account after the election. As of mid-October, it also had $450,000 in debt in its state account.

I trust I am not the only person to see the irony in this.

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11 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back under 300k.

Jobless claims decreased by 3,000 to 294,000 in the week ended Dec. 6, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was little changed at 299,250 after 299,000 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits jumped by 142,000 to 2.51 million in the week ended Nov. 29, the highest since mid-August.

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04 December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

A little better.

Jobless claims decreased by 17,000 to 297,000 in the week ended Nov. 29 from 314,000 in the prior period, the Labor Department said today in Washington.

(snip)

Employment probably increased by 230,000 in November after a 214,000 gain the previous month, according to the Bloomberg survey median ahead of the Labor Department’s Dec. 5 report. The unemployment rate is projected to hold at 5.8 percent, the lowest since July 2008.

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 299,000 from 294,250 the week before.

In the most stunning development, Bloomberg’s experts were, for all practical purposes, right on the money.

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26 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back over 300k.

Jobless claims increased by 21,000 to 313,000 in the week ended Nov. 22, the highest since early September, from 292,000 in the prior period, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.

(snip)

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 17,000 to 2.32 million in the week ended Nov. 15, the fewest since December 2000.

In that same period, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell to 1.7 percent, the lowest since November 2000, from 1.8 percent the prior week, the report showed.

In other news, Bloomberg’s experts blew it again.

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20 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still under 300k.

Jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 291,000 in the week ended Nov. 15 from an upwardly revised 293,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, climbed to 287,500 from 285,750 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 73,000 to 2.33 million in the week ended Nov. 8, the fewest since December 2000.

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19 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Caption:  US lags farthest behind in the subject of math.  Image:  Mitch McConnell as school boy counting on his fingers saying,

Via Job’s Anger.

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16 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Taxes are the price of living in a civilized society. State governments have turned to casinos because politicians are too gutless to be honest about taxes, so they resort to trickery:

“Casinos will solve everything,” they say. “Casinos are easy money, not like taxes. Taxes are hard.”

It’s not working out so well. Atlantic City is becoming a wasteland and, increasingly, new casinos, like new sports palaces, don’t live up to developers’ projections. Werner Herzog’s Bear considers why; here’s a bit of the considering:

That phenomenon attests to the neoliberal system that has been erected in the last three decades in this country. State-level politicians try to do everything they can to spare the rich form any sort of tax burden, so cigarettes and gambling become an easy target for revenue, even though they are highly regressive in who they take money from. It’s also interesting that the paragon poster-child of capitalist bad taste is Donald Trump, who rose to prominence with his casinos in Atlantic City. In the same decades that casino gambling has grown and grown, so has the biggest casino of them all: Wall Street.

Casino gambling, like most promises of easy money, is a mug’s game. It’s a mug’s game for the gambler and for the polity. The house always wins; the reverse of that is that, ultimately, the gambler and the polity are always fleeced.

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15 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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13 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog.

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13 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still under 300k:

Jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 290,000 in the week ended Nov. 8, the highest since Sept. 20, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, rose to 285,000 last week from 279,000.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 36,000 to 2.39 million in the week ended Nov. 1. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. The data are reported with a one-week lag.

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11 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Recent archaeological findings suggest that an essential feature of every Babylonian office was the Nebucadenza.

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11 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Jim Wright expects the next years to be painful, but he finds some cause for optimism. A snippet:

What I’m saying here is that last time Republicans were in charge? Think back, what happened? What did we get?

Yeah, we got America’s first black liberal president.
In a landslide.

Twice.

You owe it to yourself to follow the link and read the rest of the post.

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06 November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Still looking up a mite.

The number of claims for jobless benefits dropped by 10,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.

(snip)

The U.S. Labor Department’s report on jobless claims showed the four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure of job cuts than the weekly readings, declined to 279,000, the lowest since April 2000.

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