Thursday, March 31, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Under 400K for 3rd Week (Charts) *4-week average continues under 400K*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report


*** Updated March 31, 2011 for the week ended March 26, 2011 Claims ***


USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Under 400K for 3rd Week
4-Week Moving Average Continues Below 400K

Official Statement by the US Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending March 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 394,000. The 4-week moving average was 394,250, a increase of 3,250 from the previous week's revised average of 391,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending March 19, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.0 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 19 was 3,714,000, a decrease of 51,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,765,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,765,250, a decrease of 32,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,798,000.

Trend The short-term trend continues below 400,000, and the the intermediate and long term trends are downwards. The current weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) of 382,000 is the 4th week in the last 5 weeks below 400,000 and:
=> Below the descending 4-week moving average of 394,250.
=> Below the descending 13-week moving average of 404,923, which has decreased 23 of the past 24 weeks.
=> Below the descending 26-week moving average of 420,077, which as decreased 19 of the past 20 weeks.
=> Below the descending 52-week moving average of 442,500, which has been decreasing for months.
=> The 13-week, 26-week and 52-week moving averages are at Post-Great Recession cyclical lows.
=> (The 13-week, 26-week, and 52-week moving averages charts are not shown on this page).

Cycle History Weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) of 388,000 for the week ended March 26, 2011 are down -263,000 and -41% from the Great Recession cyclical high of 651,000 for the week ended March 28, 2009. The weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) are up +17,000 and +5% above the Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 371,000 for the week ended February 26, 2011.

4-Week Moving Average (Chart) The chart below shows the 4-week moving average for the last 32 weeks, from the week ended August 21, 2010 through the latest week reported, March 26, 2011. The week ended August 21, 2010 was an intermediate term peak of 488,000. The trend had been downwards since this intermediate term peak. The 4-week moving average, currently 394,250 (preliminary), is considered a better, smoother measure of trend. The 4-week moving average continues an overall downtrend and has decreased 13 of the past 21 weeks and 21 of the past 31 weeks. Longer-term, 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, 2010. The overall trend continues downwards.



Weekly Unemployment Claims (Chart) The chart below shows the total weekly unemployment claims for the last 33 weeks, from the week ended August 14, 2010 through the latest week reported, March 26, 2011. A general decline in claims had been indicated, with an intermediate peak of 504,000 reached for the week ended August 14, 2010, the beginning of the chart.



Commentary The latest weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) is now the 6th time below 400,000 (revised) since the end of the Great Recession. The current claims (preliminary)of 388,000 is above the Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 371,000 for the week ended February 26, 2011. The 4-week moving average (preliminary) of 394,250 above the Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 388,500 for the week ended March 12, 2011. The short term is becoming neutral as indicated by the rising 4-week moving average. The intermediate term, and long term trends continue downwards as indicated by the descending  13-week, 26-week, and 52-week moving averages. Claims at  500,000 level is a benchmark, as is the 400,000 level.

Weekly claims first dropped below 500,000 in this Great Recession Cycle for the week ended November 21, 2009 at 477,000. Weekly claims have been below 500,000 since November 21, 2009 with only one exception (504,000 for the week ended August 14, 2010). Claims over 500,000 clearly indicate GDP growth is slowing, if not stalling or contracting, while claims less than 400,000 indicate an economic expansion is underway. Hence the uncertainty over the pace and strength of the USA economic recovery had been heightened as weekly unemployment claims had generally stayed in the mid-400,000s range until recently. Weekly unemployment claims are now continuing below 400,000 indicating a stronger economic expansion and GDP.


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