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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weekly Unemployment Claims

by Calculated Risk on 6/18/2009 08:29:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending June 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 608,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 605,000. The 4-week moving average was 615,750, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 622,750.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 6 was 6,687,000, a decrease of 148,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,835,000.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows weekly claims and continued claims since 1971.

Continued claims decreased to 6.69 million. This is 5.0% of covered employment.

Note: continued claims peaked at 5.4% of covered employment in 1982 and 7.0% in 1975.

The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased this week by 7,000, and is now 43,000 below the peak of 9 weeks ago. There is a reasonable chance that claims have peaked for this cycle, and the decline in continued claims is a positive.

However the level of initial claims (over 608 thousand) is still very high, indicating significant weakness in the job market.

Krugman points out (See: Unemployment claims and employment change)
[T]he level of new claims is basically an indicator of the rate of change of employment. And we are nowhere near the point at which employment looks ready to expand, or for that matter to stop falling at a terrifying rate.

What the figure [see Krugman's graph] suggests is that to stabilize employment, we’d have to see new claims drop below 400,000 or so.