Itâ€™s common for casual conversation to turn to the economy, and itâ€™s even more common for talk of who got laid off and how long ago. Itâ€™s a tiresome conversation reflecting a stressful economic environment that has spurred a wealth of â€œHow NOT to get Laid Off,â€ articles and networking groups. And even though jobless claims fell more than was expected last week, there are economists that warn itâ€™s going to get worse before it gets better.
According to the Labor Department, continuing jobless claims hit a new high for the eighth consecutive week. While first-time requests for unemployment benefits was better than expected (about 12,000 less than previously forecasted), continuing claims increased 185,000 to 5.47 million, surpassing analystsâ€™ expectations of 5.33 million.
But the good news is buoyed with the bad, something weâ€™ve nearly grown accustomed to in such a harsh economic environment. According to market experts, the labor market hasnâ€™t yet felt the tremors of other areas in the economy that might send jobless claims even higher.
With no attempt at sugar coating the issue, in a note to clients, Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics stated, “There is no sign of even a temporary easing in the downward pressure on employment.” Shepherdson added that job losses could hit more than 700,000 in March.