United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
*** Updated July 28, 2011 for the week ended July 23, 2011 Claims ***
Official Statement by the U.S. Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending July 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 398,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 422,000. The 4-week moving average was 413,750, a decrease of 8,500 from the previous week's revised average of 422,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending July 16, a 0.1 percentage point decrease from the prior week's revised rate of 3.0 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 16 was 3,703,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,720,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,721,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,726,250.
Trend The current weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) are below 400,000 after 15 consecutive weeks above. This is the 9th time claims have been below 400,000 in the Post-Recession, all in 2011. This is the The short-term trend (4-week moving average) continues decreasing for the 4th consecutive week. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) is now decreasng, after reaching a 13-week high of 416,038 for the week ending July 2, 2011 and a Post-Great Recession low of 413,038 for the week ending May 14, 2011. The long-term trend (52-week moving average) continues downwards, reaching a new Post-Great Recession low each week. The 2011 average weekly claims of 415,167 year-to-date are lower than 2010 average weekly claims of 457,481.
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.
USA Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims: 4-Week Moving Average (Chart) The chart below shows the 4-week moving average from the week ended March 12, 2011 through the latest week reported. The 4-week moving average is considered a better, smoother measure of short-term trend. The Post-Great Recession cyclical low has been 388,500 for the week ended March 12, 2011, the beginning of the chart.
USA Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims (Chart) The chart below shows the total weekly unemployment claims from the week ended February 26, 2011 through the latest week reported. The Post-Recession cyclical low has been 371,000 for the week ended February 26, 2011, the beginning of the chart.
Commentary This current weekly unemployment claims below 400,000 at 398,000 (preliminary) is a welcome surprise and snaps the 15 consecutive weeks above 400,000. A continued trend of below 400,000 is necessary to impact the unemployment rate. The USA unemployment rate is probably not significantly decreasing and probably continuing at or near the present 9.2% unless the weekly unemployment claims can remain below 400,000 for an extended period. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) continuing downwards for 4 consecutive weeks is encouraging.
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 at least a modest economic expansion is underway.
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