The PJ Tatler

Actual Headline: 'Jobless Claims in US Unexpectedly Rose'

For my next paintball match, I’m going to make sure that the other side is composed entirely of economists and Bloomberg headline writers. They obviously never expect the bleeding obvious.

Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign the labor market is struggling to gain traction more than two years after the recession ended.

Jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 414,000 in the week ended Sept. 3, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop in claims to 405,000, according to the median forecast. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those receiving extended payments fell.

Companies are stepping up the pace of firings, raising the risk that consumer spending will slow further. Job growth stagnated last month and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent, the Labor Department reported last week. The Labor Department said there was no national effect from Hurricane Irene.

“Especially with the double-dip recession risk rising, firms are cutting labor costs,” Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. “They are not quite ready to ramp up production and create the jobs needed for our struggling economy.”

That’s quite an intro for the president’s jobs speech tonight. These companies have signaled that they’re basically not interested in whatever he has to say.