In an economic news release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported unemployment at 7.8 percent and a decrease from last year’s December unemployment rate of 8.5 percent. Unemployment fell to 7.8 in September and has remained unchanged. In their review of 2012, the annual total of mass layoffs (17,080) and initial claims (1,666,931) has reached the lowest since 2007. The BLS standardizes measurement for mass layoffs and initial claims. Each mass layoff is equal to 50 initial claims filed against one establishment during a five week period regardless of the duration of unemployment.
The largest industry climb is casino hotels as their rank increased in initial claims from 24th to 10th from 2011 to 2012. The top ten industry rankings for initial claims in descending order is temporary services, bus transportation, food service, motion picture, bridge and road construction, professional employer organizations, department stores, child day care services, supermarkets and casino hotels. In addition to industry distribution, the data was distributed by regional and state. Of the nine states in the northeast, Pennsylvania was the largest with 11,575 initial claimants. North Carolina (5,454) led the southern region which has the largest amount of states included -16 states and the District of Columbia. The 12 states in the Midwest had the highest amount of initial claims at 65,155 with Michigan leading at 15,726. The final regional of the west was led by California at 25,405.
An alternative method for measuring unemployment is the employment to population ratio. According to the BLS data, the employment to population ratio has remained unchanged throughout the past year with a steady ratio of 58. The employment to population ratio considers people in the labor force (employed or looking) and the population that is employed. Using this measurement, the attached graph from the BLS shows that the rate has steadily declined to a significant change from January 2008 to January 2010. Although the ratio is increasing since 2010, it has not hit a significant incline.
How did the market react today?
Only conglomerates, utilities and technology has positive changes throughout the day of the 12 sectors measured on Google finance. In the technology sector which had the highest percentage change throughout the day with 0.84 percent, the highest changers were Advanced Photonix Inc., Glu Mobile Inc. and Zynga Inc.