Initial claims under 600K, continuing claims at record high

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The latest figures on claims for unemployment insurance in the United States were released this morning.  The data showed Initial claims of 565,000, putting the figure under 600,000 for the first time since January.  But, continuing claims rose to a record high of 6.88 million.  On the whole, this should be considered a very good weekly report as it indicates the levels of initial claims have dropped substantially from peak levels a few months ago.

Jobless Claims 2009-07-09

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I should note that unadjusted weekly initial claims have been under 600,000 for 13 weeks now.  However, because of seasonal factors, we have not seen as marked a decline in the seasonally-adjusted data until now.  The 4-week average for the unadjusted numbers is now less than 200,000 above levels of last year.  The same downward trend is evident in the seasonally adjusted year-over-year comparisons and in the adjusted and unadjusted continuing claims comparisons despite the latest week’s rise.

In fact, even though the seasonally-adjusted continuing claims number is at a record high, having risen 159,000 in the most recent week, the unadjusted number dropped by 35,000 in that same week.  Clearly, seasonal factors are at play here.  My overall take here is pretty much the same: the employment market is still weak.  However, the trend in unemployment claims in the United States is clearly down. Since, this downward movement is slow, expect a weaker jobless recovery in which the unemployment rate continues to rise into double digits.

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Source

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – US Department of Labor

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