Thursday, October 01, 2009

Weekly Unemployment Claims: 551,000

by Calculated Risk on 10/01/2009 08:30:00 AM

The DOL reports weekly unemployment insurance claims increased to 551,000:

In the week ending Sept. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 551,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 534,000. The 4-week moving average was 548,000, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 554,250.
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The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Sept. 19 was 6,090,000, a decrease of 70,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,160,000.
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 6,250 to 548,000, and is now 110,750 below the peak in April.

Initial weekly claims have peaked for this cycle, however the continuing high level of weekly claims indicates significant weakness in the job market. The four-week average of initial weekly claims will probably have to fall below 400,000 before total employment stops falling.

And in other employment news ... from Reuters: Challenger, Gray reports planned layoffs declined in Sept.
Planned job cuts announced by U.S. employers fell to 66,404 last month, down 13 percent from 76,456 in August, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

September's layoff tally was 30 percent lower than the 95,094 job cuts during the same time last year. This brought the figure for the July-September quarter to 240,233, the lowest since the first quarter of 2008 and marking the fourth consecutive quarter in which job cuts declined from the year prior level.
But a big part of the problem is lack of hiring, not firings. From Monster.com:
The Monster Employment Index edged downward in September after a significant rise in late summer recruitment activity during August. Over the year, the Index fell 25 percent largely unchanged from last month’s pace.
The BLS report will be released tomorrow.