Thursday, April 7, 2011

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

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report

*** Updated April 7, 2011 for the week ended April 2, 2011 Claims ***


Official Statement by the US Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending April 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 382,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 392,000. The 4-week moving average was 389,500, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 395,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending March 26, 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 26 was 3,723,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,732,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,745,750, a decrease of 24,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,769,750.

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) have now been below 400,000 for 6 of the past 7 weeks, been below 400,000 for 4 consecutive weeks, and:
● Below the descending 4-week moving average of 389,500
● Below the descending 13-week moving average of 403,077
● Below the descending 26-week moving average of 417,654
● Below the descending 52-week moving average of 441,019
● 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 USA weekly unemployment claims reached a Great Recession cyclical peak of 651,000 for the week ended March 28, 2009. A Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 371,000 was set for the week ended February 26, 2011.

4-Week Moving Average (Chart) The chart below shows the 4-week moving average from the week ended August 21, 2010 through the latest week reported. 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 is considered a better, smoother measure of trend. The 4-week moving average continues an overall downtrend. 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 from the week ended August 14, 2010 through the latest week reported. 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 7th time below 400,000 (revised) since the end of the Great Recession. The current claims (preliminary) is above the Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 371,000 for the week ended February 26, 2011. The 4-week moving average (preliminary) is above the Post-Great Recession cyclical low of 388,500 for the week ended March 12, 2011. The short term is continues down, but could become neutral if claims do not continue falling. 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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