Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unemployment Claims: Continued Claims Surge Past 6.5 Million

by Calculated Risk on 5/14/2009 08:31:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending May 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 637,000, an increase of 32,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000. The 4-week moving average was 630,500, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 624,500.
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The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 2 was 6,560,000, an increase of 202,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,358,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,337,250, an increase of 128,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 6,208,500.
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 630,500, off 28,250 from the peak 5 weeks ago.

Continued claims are now at 6.56 million - an all time record.

Weekly Unemployment Claims and Recessions The second graph shows the four-week average of initial unemployment claims and recessions.

Typically the four-week average peaks near the end of a recession.

The four-week average increased this week by 6,000, and is now 28,250 below the peak. 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 630 thousand) is still very high, indicating significant weakness in the job market.