Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jobless Claims Rise Again...

9 December 2004
Despite claims that the economy is doing better, new applications for for unemployment claims are on the rise again. This can be seen as a sign that employers are still running on the side of caution and looking for yet more ways to cut costs:

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of new applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 8,000 to 357,000 for the week ending Dec. 4. That marked the highest level since late September.

Last week's increase followed a sharp rise in claims — of 25,000 — in the prior week.
The newest snapshot of labor market activity was a bit disappointing to economists. They were forecasting claims to drop to around 335,000 for last week.

Higher energy bills and expensive health-care costs may be taking their toll on some companies — squeezing profits and forcing them to trim workers.

Read more...

4 Comments:

Blogger Bob Evans said...

Ron,

I'm up way late tonight (this morning!) reflecting on the campaign, my experiences, what we are doing now in this transitional period, and the work that is and will be going on to decide our direction and strategy (like the state chairs meeting going on now in Orlando and the selection, in February, of a successor to head the DNC).

I thought of you, and all the work you did in the campaign, and some things occurred to me. When I first joined the official blog, I was impressed by your posts. Talking to "kerrygoddess" later, I remarked that there must be five guys using the pseudonym of Ron Chusid, considering the prolific work I'd seen. (Of course, she quickly disabused me of that notion.)

What I found impressive was the quality of your research and analysis (which also strengthened your reference library). I considered that an invaluable contribution to the campaign.

That is what I miss, now, and what I'd like to see more of on your site. That was always your strength, and I believe in playing to your strength.

We are confronted with many issues, and a lot of bad information. I, as one blogger, would like to see you play more of a role as a debunker, challenging and correcting the misinformation, distortions, and outright lies that seem to be pandemic these days.

That's my humble opinion, Ron.

3:53 AM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

As we see the details of the second term proposals from the Bush administration, it is likley I'll get back to more debunking assuming it is necessary. (Judging from Bush's history of gross dishonesty about the effects of his proposals in the first term, most likely this will be necessary).

There is also less need for debunking at the moment as there is little new coming out this time of year, and plenty of material out there on policies now in place.

For example, before much can be said about social security, it is necessary to see the specifics. I will not oppose a proposal purely because it comes from the Bush administration. It is not necessarily a bad idea to take advantage of the benefits of long term investment of money to reduce social security costs long term. However, there are many concerns, such as the increases in the deficit which would result in borrowing money to pay current beneficiaries, the question of handling people who do not wind up with enough to live on, etc. We've seen from previous Bush proposals that often it is really specific corporate interests who benefit rather than those he claims. As was the case with Bush's Medicare proposals, we also must make sure that the plan is not really a back door attempt at destroying the program long term. We need to wait for the specifics.

At the moment I also need to concentrate on catching up on the many things I put off during the campaign.

There is also less need for debunking post-campaign as we are no longer seeing new attacks (or actually slight variations on old attacks) being launched on a daily basis.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Ron

I'm not sure if I will ever catch up with the things I put of during the campaign! The piles of papers get deeper and deeper...

1:22 AM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Yes, that paperwork is piled everywhere, both at my office and home office. There's also quite a stack still in the kitchen.

I have who knows how much money outstanding in vouchers which needed corrections beyond what my office staff could handle. At least most of those only go back a few months. I did all except Medicaid sometime during the summer. I don't know if it is worth going thru all the Medicaid rejections as it might take hours to ultimately retreive under $100.

Making matters worse, over a year ago new standards went into effect for electronically transmitted claims. I put off changing over as long as possible, primarily because I could send claims for free before with my old software, but need to pay a monthly fee to a clearning house to translate to the new format. Last summer Medicare went from delaying payments three weeks (initially instituted to save a bit of money) to four weeks if noncompliant with the new format.

As of Novemember 1, my old clearing house (which was free) will no longer accept the noncompliant claims, so I had to switch over. That raised losts of hassles, so I still have over a month of account receivables (beyond what is normal) still out there. I also ran into an interesting type of government thinking. The new format includes data which was not necessary in the old format. Medicare now will not pay claims if this data is not present in the new format, but did pay as long as I billed under the old format. It wasn't that they care about the data, but that they don't want blank data. They even say that in some cases (but they haven't said which) they will still pay if UNKNOWN is entered, but won't pay if left blank. For example, if a Medicare patient has a secondary insurance through a spouses's policy, they will no longer pay if the spouse's birth date is left blank in the information on the secondary insurance.

On top of all the business backed up, I have to figure what to do with all those books. During the past year and a half, I've been buying political books both on the campaign and as background information virtually every week as they came out I now have about six stacks of political books, plus another of nonpolitical books, which exceed the space on my book shelves That's despite seven walls over three rooms which have book shelves on a major part of the wall, floor to ceiling (as well as smaller areas with books elsewhere). My brother in law used to claim that I had to move into my present house as I filled up all the space available for books in my previous house. (Actually it was kids toys which forced us out. Now my we also have piles of large plastic containers filled with toys she out grew in the past year which I also have to figure out what to do with).

Then there are all those DVD's purchased in the past year of moview I want to watch but haven't had time.

10:33 AM  

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