Thursday, January 29, 2009

Continued Unemployment Claims at Record High

by Calculated Risk on 1/29/2009 09:13:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Jan. 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 588,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 585,000. The 4-week moving average was 542,500, an increase of 24,250 from the previous week's revised average of 518,250.
...
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Jan. 17 was 4,776,000, an increase of 159,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,617,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,630,000, an increase of 66,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,563,500.
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 542,500; still below the recent peak of 558,750
in December.

Continued claims are now at 4.78 million - a new record - just 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.

By these measures the current recession is already about the same severity as the '90/'91 recession.