Thursday, August 4, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims at 400,000 (Charts) *4-week average dips to 407,750*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
*** Updated August 4, 2011 for the week ended July 30, 2011 Claims ***


Official Statement by the U.S. Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending July 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 400,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 401,000. The 4-week moving average was 407,750, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 414,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending July 23, unchanged from the prior week's revised rate of 3.0 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 23 was 3,730,000, an increase of 10,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,720,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,729,750, an increase of 4,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,725,250.

Trend The current weekly unemployment claims (preliminary) have continued at or above 400,000 for 17 consecutive weeks. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) continues decreasing for the 5th consecutive week. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) continues decreasing and is at a Post-Great Recession low of 412,605. 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 414,774 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 The current weekly unemployment claims of 400,000 (preliminary) continues the overall downward trend. Continuing this trend 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 5 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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