Sometimes it takes a bit of exertion to disprove an assertion made by an establishment press reporter. Not this time. Today's Department of Labor report on initial unemployment claims told us that such filings "unexpectedly" (as relayed by Reuters and Bloomberg) rose to 386,000 from an upwardly revised (of course) 380,000 the previous week; expectations were for a fall to 375,000. About an hour after DOL's release, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, told readers that "Applications fell steadily during the fall and winter but have since leveled off."
Well, this one can be taken care of in one easy chart. It starts with what was essentially the last week of winter (the week ended March 24) and goes through the week ended June 9 covered in today's release, with an extra 3,000 added to the most current week to reflect next week's likely upward adjusted (such adjustments during the past sixty-plus weeks have averaged about 3,900).
Here it is:
By Rugaber's standard of measurement, the Boston Marathon's Heartbreak Hill is as flat as a pancake. Race participants beg to differ.
Another few months of "leveling off" like this, and we'll be at "levels" that will start looking recessionary. Anybody claiming otherwise, like Rugaber, isn't leveling with his or her audience.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.