Thursday, March 05, 2009

Initial Jobless Claims: Slight Decrease

by Bill McBride on 3/05/2009 08:30:00 AM

Note: Weekly claims is historically a noisy series. So, for initial claims, most analysts use the 4-week moving average - and that increased again this week.

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Feb. 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 639,000, a decrease of 31,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 670,000. The 4-week moving average was 641,750, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 639,750.
...
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Feb. 21 was 5,106,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 5,120,000. The 4-week moving average was 5,011,000, an increase of 76,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,934,250.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows weekly claims and continued claims since 1971.

The four week moving average is at 641,750 the highest since 1982.

Continued claims are now at 5.11 million - just below the record set last week - and above the previous all time peak of 4.71 million in 1982.

Weekly Unemployment Claims The second 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.

Another weak initial claims report ...

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