TEXT OF INTERVIEW
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: We ask the big question this morning as word
comes out about the number of people who filed last week for first time unemployment claims. The Labor Department says that number fell only slightly by 3,000 to 450,000. It’s the third straight weekly decline. Mark Vitner is a senior economist at Wells Fargo. He’s with us live from Detroit this morning. Good morning, sir.
MARK VITNER: Good morning.
CHIOTAKIS: We keep dropping, if ever so slightly. Is it wrong to think that the worst is over?
VITNER: Well it does look like we’re seeing some improvement. The level of jobless claims has fallen to its lowest level in two months, but it’s still high. 450,000 claims — that works out to 1.8 million jobs being lost in a month’s time.
CHIOTAKIS: How many jobs, Mark, does the economy need to be adding to really get the momentum going, get some steam under this?
VITNER: On a net basis, we need to add least 150,000 jobs to start bringing down the unemployment rate.
CHIOTAKIS: 150,000 a month or?
VITNER: A month. And that means that since we’re losing somewhere around 1.8 million a month… we need to add 2 million jobs or create 2 million new jobs a month to offset the jobs that we’re losing and create enough net new jobs to reduce the unemployment rate.
CHIOTAKIS: And the takeaway? Just the overall takeaway of this rate?
VITNER: Well it’s better than expected. A lot of people were thinking the number would rebound a little bit because we’ve seen some improvement. We’ve come down from a high of 500,000 a few weeks ago, which was very problematic and got people about a double dip or a slide back into recession. That doesn’t seem likely right now.
CHIOTAKIS: All right. Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo in Detroit. Thank you, sir.
VITNER: Thank you.
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