Thursday, November 17, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims at 32-Week Low! (Charts) *4-week average dips below 400K*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
* Updated November 17, 2011 for the week ended November 12, 2011 Claims *


Current Claims The current weekly unemployment claims of 388,000 (preliminary) establishes the trend below 400,000 and is a 32-week low. However, claims have been at or above 400,000 for 28 of the past 32 weeks. The prior week claims were revised upwards from 390,000 to 393,000. So the current claims may be revised upwards next week, probably to 390,000+. Claims have been at or below 400,000 for 3 consecutive weeks.

Trend The short-term trend (4-week moving average) of 396,750 (preliminary) is the first time below 400,000 since the week ended April 16, 2011. The 4-week moving average has decreased 7 of the past 8 weeks and is at a 31-week low. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) is now level, from decreasing. The long-term trend (52-week moving average) continues decreasing, reaching a new Post-Great Recession low each week. The 2011 average weekly claims of 412,674 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 388,000 (preliminary) establishes the trend at or below 400,000 and is a 32-week low, which is encouraging. The prior week claims were revised upwards from 390,000 to 393,000. Claims above 400,000 have been persistent since the week ending April 9, 2011. A continuation of the trend below 400,000 could decrease the  current USA unemployment rate of 9.0%. The short-term trend (4-week moving average) of 396,750 (preliminary) is a milestone, dropping below the 400,000 level, is a 31-week low, and has decreased 7 of the past 8 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 November 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 393,000. The 4-week moving average was 396,750, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 400,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending November 5, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 5 was 3,608,000, a decrease of 57,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,665,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,670,000, a decrease of 32,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,702,750.

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