Jobs has been the number one economic issue to Americans in 2010. As discussed yesterday, the continuing jobless claims statistic is moving counter to the other job indicators last year. The number one indicator of the employment market in my opinion is the U-6 unemployment rate, which remains around 17%. This measures the unemployment rate plus discouraged workers and part-time labor looking for full-time work.
While jobless claims has started to fall, this only indicates that fewer Americans will lose their jobs in 2011 than 2010. Initial jobless claims has no bearing on job creation, however fewer initial claims does reduce the likeliness of an increase in the unemployment rate.
One thing to consider, if we are lucky in 2011, we will get 100,000 jobs created per month, equating to 1.2 million for the year. While this seems good, over 2 million Americans will be graduating from colleges and universities in May. This does not cover their employment needs, unless Baby Boomers begin retiring in mass in 2011 (which is unlikely).
Overall, jobs in 2010 were clearly disappointing and while it appears that job losses will fall in 2011, there is no evidence of an increase in job availability growing. For our specific predictions on what will happen to the jobs market in 2011, check out our article this Friday.