Thursday, November 3, 2011

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Dip Under 400,000! (Charts) *Prior week revised upward*


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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report
* Updated November 3, 2011 for the week ended October 29, 2011 Claims *


Current Claims The current weekly unemployment claims of 397,000 (preliminary) reverses the trend above 400,000. However, claims have been above 400,000 for 27 of the past 30 weeks. The prior week claims were revised upwards from 402,000 to 406,000. So the current claims may be revised upwards next week to 400,000+. The last 2 times that claims were under 400,000 were the weeks ending August 6, 2011 at 399,000 and September 24, 2011 at 395,000.

Trend The short-term trend (4-week moving average) of 404,500 (preliminary) has decreased 5 of the past 6 weeks. The intermediate-term trend (26-week moving average) continues 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 413,614 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 397,000 (preliminary) reverses the trend above 400,000 for 27 of the past 30 weeks, although this may be revised upwards to 400,000+ next week. The prior week claims were revised upwards from 402,000 to 406,000. Claims above 400,000 have been persistent since the week ending April 9, 2011. The USA unemployment rate is probably not significantly decreasing and is actually 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) of 404,500 (preliminary) is at the lower end of the recent range and has decreased 5 of the past 6 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 October 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 397,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 406,000. The 4-week moving average was 404,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 406,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent for the week ending October 22, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 22 was 3,683,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,698,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,703,250, a decrease of 10,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,713,750.

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