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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weekly Unemployment Claims

by Calculated Risk on 7/30/2009 08:30:00 AM

Note: Earlier this month, the seasonally adjusted weekly claims were distorted by changes in the patterns of auto layoffs this year. That is now over.

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending July 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 584,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 559,000. The 4-week moving average was 559,000, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average of 567,250.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 18 was 6,197,000, a decrease of 54,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,251,000.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased this week by 8,250, and is now 99,750 below the peak of 16 weeks ago. It appears that initial weekly claims have peaked for this cycle.

The level of initial claims has fallen fairly quickly - but is still very high (over 580K), indicating significant weakness in the job market.

Just a reminder ... after earlier recessions (like '81), weekly claims fell quickly, but in the two most recent recessions, weekly claims declined a little and then stayed elevated for some time. I expect weekly claims to stay elevated following the current recession too.