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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decline sharply, 4-Week average below 400,000

by Calculated Risk on 3/03/2011 08:30:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending Feb. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 388,500, a decrease of 12,750 from the previous week's revised average of 401,250.
Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims for the last 40 years. The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased this week by 12,750 to 388,500 - the first time under 400,000 since July 2008.

There is nothing magical about the 400,000 level, but breaking below 400,000 is a good sign. The sharp drop in weekly claims suggests improvement in the labor market.