Unemployment Benefits: What the Newest Numbers Mean

    June 27, 2013
    Mike Tuttle
    Comments are off for this post.

According to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 for the week ending June 22, 2013. The seasonally adjusted initial benefits claims was 346,000. Numbers of initial claims for the previous week was 355,000.

Unemployment initial claims are near a five-year low, which was actually hit last month. The question of why that is happening remains largely unanswered. There is, of course, the explanation that businesses are hiring again. But keep in mind that these are number for initial claims. They do not reflect how many people are on and have been on unemployment for a while. Another way to say this is, “How many people got laid off in that week?” The rate of job loss has slowed. Which is to say, things aren’t getting bad as fast as they once were. But it says nothing about whether things are actually getting better.

None of these figures says anything about whether people who have been receiving unemployment benefits have actually found work. None of these figures says anything about people who were without work for long periods, got a job, then lost it, now finding themselves unable to apply for unemployment again because they haven’t “worked enough” in the previous year before their new claim.

None of these figures says anything about people who were self-employed, lost their business income, and can not file for unemployment because they never paid in to the insurance plan on themselves. None of these figures says anything about people who were laid off from organizations who are exempt from paying in to unemployment, such as churches.

In fact, this bit of data hides a number that actually may be telling, within the same report:

For the week ending June 8, the latest data released by the Department of Labor, 23,000 more people were drawing unemployment than in the previous week.

So the rate of new applicants slowed. But the ranks of unemployed are still growing. The neighborhood is flooded. The rain slowed down last week. But it’s still raining.

  • d jones

    And the most pressing problem is global warming. Who the hell cares about unemployment?

    • gerald kessler

      Those of us not working and still collecting unemployment are losing 22.2% of our benefits. ouch!

    • Harold

      I care, I worked for the same company for 31 years and lost my job. i have exhausted unemployment benefits, I am licensed in the water and wastewater fields and still cannot find a job unless you uproot and move to another town.

      • http://Yahoo Dogs Rule

        I’m in the same boat. Loyalty to a company means nothing these days. You reach a certain age in a company and your gone. End of story.

      • Msfreedom50

        I lost my job after 18 years. The company UTC Carrier is moving to Mexico. That’s why claims are low, a lot of people has exhausted their benefits. I was told to keep filing because they still kept records, but I wasn’t getting paid so I kept losing track of when to file so I eventually quit altogether. I guess I should have kept filing so I could be a statistic.

      • Dar

        Harold, a small, quaint town in Lewis County, WA is in dire need of someone with your qualifications….love fresh air, trees, and don’t mind some rain—-come on down or give the city hall a call about the position….best of luck to you.

        • jay

          Did you say fresh air?Not in the job description fyi.

        • jay

          Fresh air not in job description.Fyi.

          • jay

            Listen ya’ll I apologize for being so crass about this situation , but this job has got to be the shittiest job of all!

      • Dar

        Winlock, WA….looking for a small town with a decent position open in the water treatment arena…..give city hall a call.

      • jay

        You are up shit creek for real!

      • Ben

        Then move. You do what you need to do to provide for your family. Stop making excuses.

    • http://www.king5.com/news/business/191166761.html NancyNurse

      Where do you think the revenue to deal with global warming is going to come from if people aren’t employed? Just because you are concerned with unemployment doesn’t mean you can’t be concerned about global warming or vice versa.

      • Dar

        we’re talking apples and asparagus here….global warming has NOTHING to do with unemployment levels….

  • Rainer

    Loyalty to a company no longer matters. Companies want an average age pool of 26 yrs old in their employment. If you are near 45, you are being looked at to be released. You are no longer getting pensions, you no longer will get raises, you cost too much to care for, you don’t want to do all the jobs that need to be done. If you don’t have the money to retire, be prepared to change jobs every 2-5 yrs and worry that you will be homeless and hungry in the next 10yrs. No state assistnace, no medical care, no social security, no nothing. This is what outsourcing of jobs and age discrimination has done. Business is all that is cared about. Humans are discardable and we will all be homeless wondering what happened while your state and federal leaders will ignore your pleas because they made sure they got lifetime benefits and their family can work in whatever business owned them. Welcome to Greed US style!

    • http://www.king5.com/news/business/191166761.html NancyNurse

      It’s very disturbing what outsourcing has done to this country and continues to do to this country. Corporate greed is another huge problem which is out of control with outsourcing in this country too. When will the U.S. government clamp down to end this “bankrupting activity” by corporations?

      • Dan

        My ex wife worked at AMDOCS ( They do the billing for Sprint and make the billing software for AT&T) in Champaign Illinois and she was actually sent to India to train people to take over her job.

        • renee


    • Steve

      Rainer: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against persons aged 40 years or older in hiring, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This includes limiting, segregating or classifying an employee in a way that could deprive an employee of an employment opportunity.

      The U. S. Supreme Court has held that inaccurate stereotyping of the elderly is “the essence of what Congress sought to prohibit in the ADEA.” The Court has further held that the ADEA “requires the employer to ignore an employee’s age…it does not specify further characteristics that an employer must also ignore.” Thus, where an employer bases an adverse employment decision on the belief that older employees are less efficient or less productive, the employer violates the ADEA.

  • Billy

    Again, this is a cold, hard reminder that NOBODY in Washington cares about those of us already ON unemployment or those JUST NOW filing a new claim. Then, too, think about all the ones who will STILL be added to the roles in the coming weeks and months. For your consideration: there were about ONE MILLION people in May 2013 that filed new unemployment claims (and June looks like it will follow suit!), yet the spin in Washington is that there were 175,000 jobs added in May with the unemployment rate hovering around 7.6%. Good news? Yes, for the fortunate few who DID get those jobs but when the economy keeps running a deficit (175,000 minus 1,000,000 = -825,000) month after month after month, now you can understand why there are about 25-30 MILLION people not working in this country…and apparently this is ACCEPTABLE?!

  • http://webpronews.com colleen

    My question is what about all the ones who have been laid off their jobs over 3 years ago especially construction workers who no longer can collect, and still have no jobs, those people aren’t even counted it’s as if they don’t exist anymore. T
    here are ones living with their families (children)in tents at camp grounds because they can’t afford to give their children a home. Our government totally ignores these problems as long as they are able to go on their extravagant vacations eat steak and caviar, and drink fine wines. Yeh we are doing great aren’t we? The government says so!!!!!

    • Don

      as long as Moochelle can take her $ 100 MILLION dollar vacations at our expense, who in DC really cares ??????

  • bob

    I exhausted my unemployment benefits last February. Still haven’t found a job in my line of expertise. Nobody wants to hire a 60+ year old person. And I’m sure I am not being counted as unemployed. Those unemployment statistics are a bunch of crap that they spin to try to make Obama look good.

    • http://yahoo Islaserena

      I agree with you totally, I am 61 having the same situation, but I dont believe the unemployment numbers are trustworthy, they have done it in the past,I visit the unemp offices all the time and is full of the same people,they just dont want to extend the benefits. Good luck!

  • A. Nonny Mouse

    Right. These numbers are so bogus. In Northern Virginia, I could claim unemployment for 28 weeks; at that point, my benefits were terminated because the area’s unemployment is low. So now, I’m no longer counted as unemployed because I’m not receiving benefits. The way of counting unemployment is bogus, and this area’s release of people from benefits is double bogus. The whole system needs an overhaul. Let’s start with Congress’ raises and benefits, shall we?

    • Ben

      How about you get a damn job instead of complaining about unemployment.

      • Tim123

        If you’re not willing to help, Ben, then you have no right to speak on what the Nonny Mouse is saying.

        • jay


    • L Boden

      Tell you what. I lived in N. Virginia for twenty four years. It’s a high cost of living area and I don’t know what you were making, but I had to move because I couldn’t afford rent any more. I moved from N Va across country to Washington State. I had nothing more than train tickets, my son, two suitcases, and five hundred bucks in my pocket. Took Amtrak and lived with a friend for three months before we found jobs. In the end, I found a beautiful place to live, with a better support system for those who live here, and a job. Isn’t what I used to make, not close. But I’m happier and have found that there are other things than a big house and a lot of greenbacks and the false sense of transient importance they bring.

  • http://yahoo KingPoloBear

    We hear only that which the government wants us to hear – with EVERYTHING! The reports made current could have actually been from last year but they wait till now to release the report. We just DON’T know! People not collecting benefits due to not being eligible are NOT counted. Some jobs open up and close 6 weeks later. If you don’t make $1,300 dollars within a quarter, you are NOT eligible. Jobs opening don’t pay this amount, still making one ineligible for benefits. My question has always been, “Why is unemployment taxable income for the federal government? We are already poor; why do you want us to be poorer and live below the federal poverty line?” Everything goes up but the paychecks of the average American worker and help for the poor and indigent!

    • http://yahoo kenneth craig

      I worked for the same outfit for almost 10 years until OBOZO(satan) got in office. Banks closed, building stopped, foreclosures went highest in history, costs in utilities went up, jobs laid off, benefits for public aid cut for 2 people to 120 dollars a month. And the very same government that put us here bails out on the voter and cuts extensions on benefits, pluggs Obamy care in our face and we are required to pay for our own medical benefits. I just don’t see how this realistic unless the dmons number goes into play. This president, our congress and senate s__k big C__k.

  • phil dup

    if you cant find a job “in your field” guess what ~ you need to move.

    the jobs aren’t going to come to you ~ go get one. GO get one.

    or sit there and complain.

    • Mike

      How is an unemployed person to afford moving? What if you were screwed over by your previous employer and now it makes your work history look tainted on paper. The truth can be easily discovered but most are just looking at what they can see on a resume or app. Then what? Just remember not everything is black and white, I know I will find a job, but now I have to work with a handicap.

    • Tim123

      self righteous comment buddy. If you don’t have a job chances are good that you can’t afford to move. Moving costs dummy.

      • jay

        Where there is a will…

        • L Boden

          Yeah, where there is a will, there is always somebody who’ll slap it out of you…. but I agree..it’s difficult when you’re out of work. Easy to say the hell with it and give up. But your alternatives are worse.. and that is laying there, doing nothing, and letting the world walk all over you even more.

    • http://yahoo kenneth craig

      Its obvious you moved to get a job. I don’t know if I should say hello or good bye. Its not easy to relocate. 4 generations of family are here, I reside in chicago. If no ones putting on here no ones putting on in my field.

  • Jr

    Hey Harold, Im sorry about your job after 31 years of service. As I was scrolling down reading these I came across yours and became frustrated with it. You have looked obviously for jobs in the near area but have came up short or think that you are entitled to more money. Whatever the case may be its time to hit the road and move to the job. Is it going to put you out of your “comfort” zone you bet your ass it will but its also being a american and “going out there” and finding a job. Its clear that these jobs are out there 2 hours after your post somebody informed you of one. GO GET IT! I live in a small rural area in the midwest and there is companies begging for people of knowledge to take these jobs. Are they going to pay what you received after 31 years? Maybe, but if they don’t swallow your greed and know that your ass gets up every morning like a american should and works for something rather than waiting for the mail to send your next check. Before moving away from the metro area I had few friends that where in these shoes and I voiced my same opinion to them it wasn’t pretty at first but one came back to me and thanked me for the discussion we had for it truly changed his life for the better (though we didn’t talk for 36 months). So before you get to angry to fire back at me change your paradigm and think about it.

  • The Wild Rover

    I’m glad this article tells the truth. A lower unemployment benefit number only means X people have maxed out their benefits and can no longer draw it. I love how Obongo uses these statistics to make it sound like more Americans are back to work. Start reloading rounds and planting gardens. America is in trouble. Mark my words.

  • Ted Whittlinger

    CONGRATULATIONS! Have I found an actual JOURNALIST who doesn’t just write misleading headlines and actually examines the ‘news’. I read no slant but did read that you went beyond the government hype and saw all sides of the impact of their announcement. Thank you.

  • http://www.mindmagic123.com Holistic Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy – Los Angeles

    It is far worse than official figures show. The percentage of the population employed, a more reliable indicator, is at a more than 20 year low. Also a recent study showed that the percentage employed in very low paid and minimum wage jobs (the proverbial flipping burgers at McDonalds type work), has increased greatly, trebled in some areas. So there are less persons employed, and many of those that those that are employed are earning less. And of course the inflation figures are similarly dubious, as anyone who is half awake in their own life is aware. In real terms the average American income has been declining for the past 10 years or more. Only the rich and super rich are doing better. Apart from any ethical/moral issues of social justice involved in this growing income disparity, how can an economy which is 70% based on consumer spending continue to grow in these circumstances? Only by borrowing from the future in the form of debt. And when this unsustainable method can no longer work? Ouch!

    Actually this reminds me of the Soviet Union. Right up until the point of collapse, and in that case disintegration, official economic figures were positive and cheerful! Smoke and mirrors!

  • jay

    Ben may be tough but he understands the situation.All you folks who are complaining should go back to the stories told by our grandparents when they went thru ww2 and the depression.They would be disappointed .Learn how to solve problems;act like AMERICANS.GOOD FOR BEN!