Fox Business anchor Cheryl Casone set an unreasonable standard for weekly jobless claims, stating that the figure needed to dip to 200,000 or lower to show a healthy labor market - a level that hasn't been reached in over 40 years.
In the wake of the Labor Department's release of weekly jobless claims figures for September 23-29 that showed a slight increase from the previous week's report, Casone weighed in on what this meant for overall job growth. From the October 4 edition of Fox & Friends:
CASONE: Here's the problem. We need to see job growth. We need to see these claims numbers come down to 200,000 and below to see meaningful job recovery and we're just not getting that unfortunately.
However, the real problem lies in Casone's figures. The 200,000 benchmark is unrealistic today, as historical data show that the last time initial claims numbers were that low was in 1970, when the U.S. population was about 203 million (around 65 percent of current population estimates). Furthermore, the current figures are by no means outlandish, approximating those experienced in the early 2000s. From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:
(Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 9/22/2012)
The above graph also shows that while there have been slight upticks in initial jobless claims, the overall trend has been downward since 2009. While Casone claims that these numbers inhibit job recovery, the private sector has nonetheless created 4.5 million jobs in the last 29 months.