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Number of Unemployed Americans Soars Over 14 Million

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This week two popular measures of unemployment were reported: weekly unemployment claims (608,000) and the four-week moving average of unemployment (615,750). Both showed that the number of people applying for unemployment insurance had dropped week over week.

Source: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – Initial Claims

Source: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – 4-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims

The previous week, another popular measure of employment — the civilian unemployment rate–jumped to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent.

Source: The Employment Situation – Civilian Unemployment Rate

One number that is rarely reported in the popular media is the actual number of people who are unemployed. You might be shocked to learn that the number of unemployed workers soared to 14.5 million in the most recent report. This compares to 13.72 million the previous month, and 8.5 million a year earlier.

Source: The Employment Situation – Unemployed

So while the more popular reports seem to be indicating that the employment situation is improving, the raw numbers show that more and more Americans are out of work. In fact, this is the largest number of unemployed since this statistic began to be compiled in 1948.

Another sobering statistic is the number of Americans who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. This number rose to 3.95 million in the latest period, versus 3.68 million a month earlier. In 2008, the number for the comparable period was 1.57 million.

Source: The Employment Situation – Civilians Unemployed for 27 Weeks and Over


This number is particularly disconcerting because many of these Americans have exhausted their Federal and State unemployment insurance benefits. With the trend of employment still rising, and the duration of unemployment still rising the situation is more dire than it appears on the surface. So while many of the so-called experts continue to say that the employment situation is improving based on weekly unemployment claims, the evidence (although lagging) paints a very different picture.

Those investing in stocks should take a good hard look at these numbers. The story they are telling is that the economy is still at risk. While things might not be as bad as they were a few months ago, they are still very bad in historical terms.

It is often true that the stock market discounts all the bad news before it happens. But the question still remains, has the market discounted the worst of the news, or is the worst news still to come?


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  • You’re right. The figures are rather misleading. They only account for those who are on the rolls, either new applications or existing, not those who have fallen off the rolls and have given up. In Michigan, unemployment has been well over 14%, and I personally know of people who have been looking for jobs for years.

  • Your government routinely lies to you, your accountants routinely lie to you, food companies routinely lie to you, drug companies routinely lie to you, car companies routinely lie to you. It seems as though a terrible darkness has stricken America, and you have to go with a torch in broad daylight, as did Diogenes, to find an honest man.

  • Arch Conservative

    You forgot your Kenyan born president routinely lies to you with a smug smile Ruvy.

  • By my calculation 14.5 million out of our total workforce is still close to 9% unemployment, not far from what the official government estimates give.

    What’s more significant in understanding unemployment is comparing our level of total unemployment, including those who have been unemployed long enough for benefits with similar statistics for countries in Europe. When you do that you find that even now our total real unemployment is about half the level in most European countries prior to the Bush recession and it looks even better compared to their current figures.

    So yes, we have more unemployment, but in comparative terms it’s not nearly as bad as it could be.

    And in this peculiar recession unemployment also seems to be concentrated regionally and in particular sectors of the economy. Some areas have had only a small change in unemployment while others have seen dramatic increases, so a single nationwide number doesn’t really tell the whole story.


  • Don’t forget to count the prison population.

  • I’m serious.

  • Arch @ #3:

    Shimon Peres was born in Kenya?!?


  • Arch Conservative

    Arch @ #3:

    Shimon Peres was born in Kenya?

    Yeah that’s right.

    I guess the hope was 14 million unemployed. The change is when we get to double digit inflation.

    The yes we can is when King Barry has so devalued the dollar that no one will do business with us anymore.

  • You forgot your Kenyan born president routinely lies to you with a smug smile Ruvy.

    No, Bing. Get your facts straight. My Polish born murderer of a president, Shimon Peres, lies to Israelis with a straight face as though butter would melt in his mouth. His wife will have nothing to do with a man whose trail of dead bodies runs to the dozens, and who has a taste for watching the children of rabbis get beaten up in their own homes.

    Your Kenyan-born president lies to you and everybody else with the smug smile of a preacher. At least be grateful you have a true African-American for a president, instead of someone who grabbed the name because he didn’t like being called “black”. It’s one of the few honest things about this man. The other honest thing about the “Blessed of Hussein” is his real enmity for Israel.

  • Arch Conservative

    Ruvy when I Said yeah that
    s right I thought you’d understand that I was talking about King Barry and not Peres. That was beyond obvious but you missed it.

    As for our Kenyan born president. After he’s done wreaking his unique brand of misery on the world I’m sure hell will have a nice cozy reserved room just for him.

  • Bing, you gotta learn the value of using quotes in a sentence. Let’s fix this up for you.

    You forgot, “your Kenyan born president routinely lies to you with a smug smile,” Ruvy.

    That was evidently what you wanted to say.

    We’ll see if Prophecy has a different hell for Obama than the usual demons, pain and fire and brimstone….

  • virtualpaper

    As early as 1733, colonial frustrations were felt against the British Parliament via the Molasses Act. Indignation grew over the decades, erupting in 1764 when Parliament enacted the Sugar Act and the Currency Act. But it was not until 1765, when Parliament levied the first direct tax upon the colonies via the Stamp Act, that larger protests permeated all the 13 colonies. And though that tax was repealed in 1766, the appeasement was short lived. Parliament passed the Townshend Acts beginning in 1767, placing a tax on a number of essential goods, including paper and tea – something which in turn led to the Boston Massacre in 1770, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the Intolerable Acts and the First Continental Congress in 1774 and, of course, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, etc.

    What’s so amazing is that no matter how vast Parliament’s control and taxation upon the colonists back then, it all pales into insignificance to Washington’s control and taxation upon Americans today. Let me say that again: England’s total revolutionary oppression and taxes pale into insignificance to Washington’s present control and taxation upon U.S. citizens today.

    Our founders fought for a far less oppressive system than in Britain. And though some taxes were levied on early Americans for some consumptives, the burden of taxation was laid largely upon tariffs for the first roughly 150 years of our republic until the inception of the income tax in 1913. Tragically, however, in the last 100 years, the feds have grown government into a gargantuan gargoyle whose taxation tentacles overreach every aspect of our lives.

    America’s founders would have been horrified at the bloated federal bureaucracy we have now and the maze of taxes we have to navigate: income taxes, employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes, gas taxes and even death taxes – it was excessive taxation like this that drove the founders to rebel in the first place.

  • Gene

    What nobody takes into cosiderations is the self-employed that is not collecting un-employment

  • Gene

    We could barely afford the with holding taxes on are employees let alone ourselves, we paid into the system but if you are an owner of a corporation you cant draw, through that number into the mix and I am sure it is well with in 20 million, lets not forget about the 10-99 employee as well add that and throw another 5 million at it and lets not forget the H.S grads and college grads that cant find employment so add another 5 million so as the lonely accountatnt that I am I easily estimate 25-30 million Americans not working!

  • anthony

    I guess we all have to go to china, I hear they are hiring1