Economy Watch: Unemployment Claims Tick Downward, Monster Optimistic

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week ending Sept. 4, seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims were down 27,000, to a total of 451,000, compared with 478,000 the week before.

September 10, 2010
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

More relatively good news, at a time when that’s about the only kind of good news there is: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for the week ending Sept. 4, seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims were down 27,000, to a total of 451,000, compared with 478,000 the week before.

Perhaps more importantly, the four-week moving average, which tends to even out some of the weekly volatility, was 477,750, according to Labor. That’s down 9,250 from the previous week.

Moreover, the government wasn’t the only organization with relatively cheerful employment news these days. The Monster Employment Index for August 2010, as recently reported by Monster.com, saw a slight month-over-month decline but its seventh consecutive month of positive year-over-year growth rate, at 12 percent.

“While the Monster Employment Index experienced a marginal contraction in August, several industries, occupations and all 28 metro markets–including Cleveland and Detroit–continue to record positive annual growth trends,” Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide, said in a statement.

Chinese Property: Bubble Pop or Not?

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China on Friday (Thursday in North America), residential property prices in 70 of the country’s largest cities didn’t change on average between July and August, though prices increased 9.3 percent compared with August 2009. The question now is whether this is first moment of a popping property bubble in China–which absolutely no one wants–or the beginning of a more measured slowdown in runaway property valuations?

The increase in valuations between June and July was 10.3 percent, according to the Chinese government, but the real whopper this year was between March and April, which saw a 12.8 percent increase. SInce this spring, the government has taken steps to slow the residential property market down, but no one knows yet whether the efforts will work as intended.

Looking for Publicity Wherever He Can Find it

Donald Trump publicly offered on Thursday to buy the site of a proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan for a 25 percent premium over what the current owner, Soho Properties L.L.C. Soho CEO Sharif El-Gamal wasted no time in telling Trump to go fly a kite.

According to Bloomberg, El-Gamal called Trump’s offer a “cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight,” though it’s hard to imagine The Donald would ever do such a thing.

Wall Street continued on its positive roll on Thursday, but barely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 28.23 points, or 0.27 percent, while the S&P 500 was up 0.48 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.33 percent.