Thursday, July 21, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise Slightly to 418K (Charts) *4-week average dips to 421,250*


United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
*** Updated July 21, 2011 for the week ended July 16, 2011 Claims ***

Official Statement by the U.S. Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending July 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 418,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 408,000. The 4-week moving average was 421,250, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 424,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending July 9, a 0.1 percentage point decrease from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.0 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 9 was 3,698,000, a decrease of 50,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,748,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,720,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,724,500. Special Factor: Minnesota has indicated that approximately 1,750 of their reported initial claims are a result of state employees filing due to the state government shutdown.

Trend The short-term trend (4-week moving average) continues decreasing for the 3rd consecutive week. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) is mostly level, 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 current weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) are above 400,000 for the 15th consecutive week and after being below 400,00 for the previous 4 consecutive weeks. The 2011 average weekly claims of 415,621 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 Overall, the reports continue disappointing as weekly unemployment claims continue above 400,000 for the 15th consecutive week. This most likely indicates the USA unemployment rate is not significantly decreasing and probably continuing at or near the present 9.2%. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) continuing downwards for 3 consecutive weeks is somewhat 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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