Thursday, May 28, 2009

Unemployment Claims: Continued Claims at Record 6.79 Million

by Bill McBride on 5/28/2009 08:30:00 AM

Another week, another record for continued claims.

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending May 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 623,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 636,000. The 4-week moving average was 626,750, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average of 629,750.
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The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 16 was 6,788,000, an increase of 110,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,678,000.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows weekly claims and continued claims since 1971.

Continued claims are now at 6.79 million - an all time record. This is 5.1% of covered employment.

Note: continued claims peaked at 5.4% of covered employment in 1982 and 7.0% in 1975. So this isn't a record as a percent of covered employment.

The four-week average decreased this week by 3,000, and is now 32,000 below the peak of 7 weeks ago. There is a reasonable chance that claims have peaked for this cycle, but it is still too early to be sure, and if so, continued claims should peak soon.

The level of initial claims (over 623 thousand) is still very high, indicating significant weakness in the job market.