Thursday, September 16, 2010

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims at 9 Week Low (Charts) *Total Claims 450,000*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report


USA Weekly Unemployment Claims at 9 Week Low

Official Statement The Department of Labor reported today, "In the week ending Sept. 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 450,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 453,000. The 4-week moving average was 464,750, a decrease of 13,500 from the previous week's revised average of 478,250."

Cycle History Weekly unemployment claims for the week ended September 11, 2010 are down -201,000 and -30.9% from the Great Recession peak of 651,000 for the week ended March 28, 2009. The current unemployment claims are up +23,000 and +5.4% from the subsequent low of 427,000 for the week ended July 10, 2010.

Trend Weekly unemployment claims have not increased in the past 4  weeks, since the 2010 peak of 504,000 for the week ending August 14. The current claims of 450,000 are below the 4-week moving average of 464,250, and also below the 13-week, 26-week, and 52-week moving averages of 467,692, 463,192, and 476,615, respectively. Weekly claims have remained below the 4-week moving average since the 2010 peak of 504,0000 for the week ending August 14.

Chart (4-Week Moving Average) The chart below shows the 4-week moving average for the last 52 weeks (1 year) of weekly total unemployment claims, from the week ended September 19, 2009 through the latest week reported, September 11, 2010. The 4-week moving average is considered a better, smoother metric. The 4-week moving average dropped significantly to reach a first low of 462,500 for the week ended January 9, 2010. After an increase, another low was set of 448,000 for the week ended March 27. This has been the Great Recession cyclical low to-date.



Chart (Weekly Unemployment Claims) The chart below shows the  total weekly unemployment claims for the last 52 weeks (1 year) from the week ended September 19, 2009 through the latest week reported, September 11, 2010. A general decline in claims is indicated, with a recent peak of 504,000 reached for the week ended August 14 and a recent low of 427,000 reached for the week ended July 10, which has been the cyclical low to-date.



Commentary The 4-week moving average decreased -13,500 this week because the 2010 peak of 504,000 for the week ended August 14 dropped from the average. After reaching this peak of 504,00 (which was the first time greater than 500,000 since the week ended November 14, 2009) claims have been decreasing. Obviously claims at the 500,000 level is a benchmark, as is  the 400,000 level. Weekly claims have not been below 400,000 for over 2 years, since the week ended July 12, 2008 claims of 385,000. Weekly claims first dropped below 500,000 in this Great Recession Cycle for the week ended November 21, 2009 at 477,000. So the 450,000 claims the week ended September 11 is squarely in the middle of the range perceived as increasing GDP growth and decreasing GDP growth: 400,000 and 500,000 respectively. Hence the uncertainty over the pace of the USA economic recovery.


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