Thursday, September 15, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise to 11-Week High (Charts) *3.73 million Americans on unemployment*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
* Updated September 15, 2011 for the week ended September 10, 2011 Claims *


Trend The current weekly unemployment claims of 428,000 (preliminary) continues the trend above 400,000, for 22 of the past 23 weeks. Claims have increased 4 of the past 5 weeks. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) of 419,500 (preliminary) has increased the past 4 weeks. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) continues increasing, after reaching a Post-Great Recession low of 412,692 for the week ending July 30, 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 414,838 year-to-date are lower than 2010 average weekly claims of 457,481. The 2009 average weekly claims were 571,981 and the 2008 average weekly claims were 418,596.

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 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 recent peak has been 440,250 for the week ended May 14, 2011. 


USA Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims (Chart) The chart below shows the total weekly unemployment claims through the latest week reported. The Post-Recession cyclical low has been 371,000 for the week ended February 26, 2011. The recent peak has been 478,000 for the week ended April 30, 2011.


Commentary The current weekly unemployment claims of 428,000 (preliminary) is an 11-week high and continues the trend above 400,000 for 22 of the past 23 weeks. Claims have increased 4 of the past 5 weeks. Claims above 400,000 have been persistent and recently increasing. The USA unemployment rate is probably not significantly decreasing and probably continuing at or near the present 9.1%. The weekly unemployment claims need to drop below 400,000 for an extended period to reduce the unemployment rate. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) has increased 4 consecutive weeks.

History Weekly unemployment claims first reached 500,000 in the Great Recession cycle at 508,000 for the week ended November 15, 2008. Weekly claims continued above 500,000 until the week ended November 21, 2009 at 477,000. Weekly claims have been below 500,000 since the week ended 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.

Official Statement by the U.S. Department of Labor (Seasonally Adjusted Data) In the week ending September 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 428,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 417,000. The 4-week moving average was 419,500, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 415,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending September 3, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 3 was 3,726,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,738,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,741,000, an increase of 1,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,739,750.

About the U.S. Department of Labor Mission: To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


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