Layoffs Continue To Dog The Economy
-- July 17, 2003

Don't let the most recent jobless numbers fool you into thinking the employment situation is turning a corner. Unemployment claims continue to reflect a deteriorating labor market!

Initial jobless claims fell by 29,000 to 412,000 in the week ending July 12, according to the Labor Department. But a department spokesman cautions that claims data is volatile in July and that the most recent figures reflect difficulties in adjusting for seasonal shutdowns in the automobile, textile, and apparel industries.

The fact is that when initial claims remain above 400,000, it's an unflinching sign that we have a deteriorating labor market. Plus, just look at today's layoff announcement by Boeing for evidence that companies continue to eliminate jobs in droves. This means that the 3.7 million workers who are already receiving benefits are having a hard time getting back to work.

If the economy were in good shape, these continuing claims would be going down significantly. Unfortunately, that's not happening. The consensus from analysts is that the US economy will grow only 2.3% in 2003 -- that's too low for new job creation, and a warning that even tougher times are ahead.

related article: Boeing To Cut Up To 5,000 More Jobs