Funny how so many on the Left are arrogantly spouting off that despite all the problems going on at home, capturing bin Laden somehow ices the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012. But our issues here didn't get any better once Osama bin Laden was declared dead. Al Qaeda is just as much a threat and as for the other stuff, it remains grim to say the least:
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits surged last week to the highest level in eight months, a troubling sign a day ahead of the government's report on April employment.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose by 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000 last week. But that was largely the result of unusual factors, including a high number of school systems in New York that closed for spring break, the department said.
Still, it marked the third increase in four weeks. Applications have jumped 89,000, or 23 percent, in the past month. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose for the fourth straight week to 431,250.
"The trend is clearly upward, so that's disconcerting," said Kurt Karl, chief U.S. economist for Swiss Re. "When you get three or four weeks in a row of special factors, they're no longer so special."
Applications near 375,000 are typically consistent with sustainable job growth. Weekly applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.
Separately, the Labor Department said U.S. companies squeezed more work out of their staffs in the first three months of the year. But the overall gain in productivity was much slower than in the previous three months.
A slowdown in productivity growth is bad for the economy if it persists for a long period.