Marketwatch reports that
Initial jobless claims rose 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 637,000 in the week ended May 9, the Labor Department reported. ....
[A]nalysts have focused on the recent downward trend in claims. Claims hit a peak of 674,000 in late March.
Economists had expected claims to move higher this week. Roughly 27,000 hourly employees of Chrysler were laid off in the wake of the company's bankruptcy filing. There were also layoffs at parts suppliers.
A spokesman for the Labor Department said the government could not quantify the exact number of layoffs stemmed from Chrysler. But the increase in claims did come from the automotive sector.
In other words, take out Chrysler, and we would've been under 600,000. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but a move in the right direction.
If little ol' Chrysler can knock a hole in the recent decline in new applications for jobless claims, imagine what even a "managed" bankruptcy of GM is likely to do.
So far this year most of the data has broken towards the "optimistic" vs. the "pessimistic" scenario. Putting North America's biggest automaker out of business, even temporarily, is the gravest threat to the better scenario.
One hopes minds in Washington are focused on this fact.