Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Weekly Unemployment Claims: 26 Year High

by Bill McBride on 12/24/2008 09:10:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Dec. 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 586,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 556,000. The 4-week moving average was 558,000, an increase of 13,750 from the previous week's revised average of 544,250.
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The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Dec. 13 was 4,370,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,387,000.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows weekly claims since 1968.

The four week moving average is at 558,000; the highest since December 1982.

Continued claims are now at 4.37 million.


Weekly Unemployment Claims This graph shows the 4-week average of initial weekly unemployment claims (blue, right scale), and total insured unemployed (red, left scale), both as a percent of covered employment.

This normalizes the data for changes in insured employment.

By these measures, the current recession is already worse than the '01 recession, and close to the '90/'91 recession.