Exhaustion Rate

As Extended And Emergency Unemployment Benefits Finally Begin Expiring, A Much Different Employment Picture Emerges

The following very interesting analysis from Goldman focuses on an issue long-discussed on Zero Hedge and elsewhere, namely what happens when those millions in unemployed currently collecting unemployment insurance, finally start to roll off extended and emergency benefits, as terminal benefit exhaustion sets in, even with ongoing governmental unemployment stimulus programs. Goldman's estimate: approximately 400,000 people will no longer have the backdrop of so-called "government jobs" in which workers receive on average $1,200 a month for doing nothing. "If the rate of exhaustion continues at the current pace, this implies over 400,000 workers will exhaust their benefits in some months, even if Congress continues to extend the current, more generous, unemployment program." What this means for the economy is, obviously, nothing good: "Assuming something on the order of 400,000 exhaustions per month, at an average benefit of $1200 per month, this implies roughly $0.5 billion in lost monthly compensation compared with a scenario in which there are no exhaustions. If the relationship between exhaustions and initial claims 16 to 17 months prior (the maximum benefit period in most states) holds constant, the pace of exhaustions is likely to stay elevated for several months, implying several billion dollars in cumulative lost compensation." Couple this with front-loaded tax refunds, also previously discussed on Zero Hedge, and the "consumer-driven" economy in next few months is sure to see a rather substantial shakedown. Absent a dramatic increase in (c)overt Obama unemployment stimulus, is the extend-and-pretend phase of the bear market rally about to end?

A Simple Yet Comprehensive View Of America's Unemployed

Lately there has been much back and forth over the definitions of (un)employment, of improving (deteriorating) trends therein, and of just what is going on with the labor pool in the U.S. Due to the lack of a definitive data series that tracks comprehensive unemployment over time, the possibility for loose interpretation exists and is (ab)used by many. In order to hopefully mitigate a lot of the debate on the margin, here is probably one of the more comprehensive charts available, which tracks Initial Claims, Continuing Claims and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (the last being somewhat notorious lately, and a datapoint that has to be considered due to the skyrocketing exhaustion rate) since 1967. The result does not need much commentary.

Frontrunning: November 5

  • This is just the beginning: Bank of England extends Quantitative Easing by 25 billion pounds to 200 billion, holds rates steady, wishes it could push rates to -50% (Reuters)
  • ECB holds rates, clues on withdrawal sought (Reuters)
  • No Solitaire was played in Q3 - worker productivity jumps 9.5% in Q3, while unit labor costs fall 5.2%, in other news, this year your bonus is your job, like last year (Bloomberg, AP)
  • From the wrist slap department: UBS fined 8 million pounds by UK regulator for unauthorized trades (Bloomberg)
  • Professor Colander tells Congress economic models are flawed (Wall St. Cheat Sheet)
  • John Crudele: Obama's gibberish on jobs makes my job easy (NY Post)

Why Is The Government Overrepresenting Raw Continuing Claims Numbers?

One of the most recent statistical aberrations to be noted by Investment Research firm Oscar Gruss and subsequently referenced by Bloomberg highlights the dramatic disconnect between raw and seasonally adjusted continuing claims numbers. The divergence has manifested itself in a discrepancy of nearly 900,000 people.

Exhaustion Rate Hits New Record: More Than Half Of Unemployed Exhaust Benefits Before Finding A Job

According to the BLS, the exhaustion rate, or the number of people who have used up their benefits, and will no longer be receiving unemployment checks, has hit an all time high of 52.40% for August. This is a staggering number, and whats worse it was grown in practically a linear fashion with not even a hope of a second (third or fourth) derivative green shoot in sight. In fact, the deterioration in "employability" is accelerating. And yet assorted "pundits" claim the employment picture is improving. We wish them and their newsletters (and, heaven forbid, LPs) all the best.

Weekly Macro Observations

David Rosenberg punching the table on the little noticed fact that the Detroit production shutdown will have profound negative ripple effects on the economy. Zero Hedge still believes that fundmantals are more important to report than ongoing wholesale market short squeezes, so we present David Rosenberg's latest weekly observations.

Quicksand

Weekly Macro Observations

David Rosenberg punching the table on the little noticed fact that the Detroit production shutdown will have profound negative ripple effects on the economy. Zero Hedge still believes that fundmantals are more important to report than ongoing wholesale market short squeezes, so we present David Rosenberg's latest weekly observations.

Quicksand