Last week hurrahs went up when the weekly jobless number came in at 398,000. It had dipped below the 400K number for the first time in 17 weeks, indicating unemployment was staging a turnaround.
Many of us doubted that because it has been the habit of the Labor Department to give one number on Thursday, only to up it a few days later when no one’s looking. It’s a way of hiding the bad news and then making the next week look less bad, too, when that number falls less.
That’s exactly what happened today. The number was announced as 400,000 new applications. The previous week’s number of 398K had been reconfigured to 401,000.
In other words, we never did dip below 400,000, making it 18 straight weeks of that many people getting turned out of work.