Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decrease to 391,000

by Bill McBride on 2/24/2011 08:30:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Feb. 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 391,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 413,000. The 4-week moving average was 402,000, a decrease of 16,500 from the previous week's revised average of 418,500.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims for the last 40 years. The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased this week by 16,500 to 402,000.

The sharp drop in the 4-week average since late last year suggests some improvement in the labor market. There is nothing magical about the 400,000 level, but breaking below that level would be a good sign.