Jobless claims fall to lowest this year


From the U.S. Department of Labor:

In the week ending Nov. 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 457,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 462,000. The 4-week moving average was 481,250, a decrease of 14,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 495,500.

As I said last week, I am expecting this new lower level of claims to hold because I believe seasonal adjustments were distorting the claims numbers in September and October. This past week, the unadjusted claims number was 460,989. So for those of you of an apocalyptic mindset,  we can’t look at this week’s lower number as a complete aberration (Thanksgiving does skew data lower though). 

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I should also mention that previous week claims are now being revised down instead of up.  I noticed this last week when the 505,000 number was revised down to 501,000. and it continued this week, with the previous 466,000 number revised down to 462,000. Downward revisions are always welcome.

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Let’s be honest, these are enormous numbers.  But 425,000-450,000 job losses is probably consistent with a zero non-farm payroll number.  If these levels hold, we cold see non-farm payrolls increase early next year. Note that increases in the labour force as the population grows and discouraged workers re-enter means the unemployment rate would still continue to increase.

I am not tracking continuing claims because they fail to incorporate all the people exhausting unemployment insurance. Though they are also down.

On the whole, this report is what I expected. Let’s hope these numbers continue to drop. Job losses will then be less of a concern. Hiring is where we need to be worried.

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