Can you believe it's already time for our first monthly unemployment reading of 2010? Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the unemployment rate for January. Now that the holidays are over, we can resume analyzing these numbers as more indicative of whether businesses have really begun hiring or continue laying people off. And as usual, we want to give Atlantic readers an opportunity to predict how the labor market's important measure has changed. Vote after the jump!
First, a tiny bit of analysis. Yesterday, we learned that ADP estimated 22,000 job cuts in January. While not exactly positive, that's certainly an improvement compared to what the economy experienced throughout most of 2009. It was the smallest cut in two years, according to ADP.
And yet, we found out this morning that first-time weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 8,000 to 480,000 last week -- the highest level seen since mid-December. There have also been reports that some big companies intend to continue laying off workers throughout 2010. One would imagine that some seasonal holiday-driven jobs were also shed in January.
This all seems to indicate that predicting January unemployment won't be easy, but give it a shot anyway below. Last month, respondents did fairly well, with 26% accurately predicting that the unemployment rate would remain at 10%. Can we beat that for January?