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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Initial Unemployment Claims Increases Sharply to 573 Thousand

by Calculated Risk on 12/11/2008 08:38:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Dec. 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 573,000, an increase of 58,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 515,000. The 4-week moving average was 540,500, an increase of 14,250 from the previous week's revised average of 526,250.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov. 29 was 4,429,000, an increase of 338,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,091,000.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows weekly claims since 1968. Initial weekly unemployment claims last week were the highest since late 1982.

The four moving average is at 540,500; the highest since December 1982.

Continued claims are now at 4.429 million.

Continued Unemployment Claims The second graph shows continued claims since 1989.

It was just in May that continued claims hit 3 million; that was a big story!

Note: Continued claims hit 4.7 million during the 1982 recession (not shown), although the population was much smaller then. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% in 1982 (compared to 6.7% currently).

This suggests that December will be another very weak month for employment.

UPDATE: by request ...

Weekly Unemployment ClaimsThis 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.

The current recession is already worse than the '01 recession, but still not as bad as the '90/'91 recession (weekly claims) - although continued claims are at the same level as the '90/'91 recession.