Weekly Employment Numbers

Calculated Risk does a great job summarizing the weekly employment numbers:

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 631,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 643,000. The 4-week moving average was 628,500, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 632,000.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 9 was 6,662,000, an increase of 75,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 6,587,000.

Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The first graph shows weekly claims and continued claims since 1971.

The four-week moving average is at 628,500, off 30,250 from the peak 6 weeks ago.

Continued claims are now at 6.66 million – an all time record.

Typically the four-week average peaks near the end of a recession. There is a reasonable chance that claims have peaked for this cycle, but it is still too early to be sure, and if so, continued claims should peak soon.

The level of initial claims (631 thousand) is still very high, indicating significant weakness in the job market.

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2 Responses to “Weekly Employment Numbers”


  1. 1 Claudio Ramirez May 25, 2009 at 11:49 PM

    It is very obvious that the job market is still very weak with the increasing number of unemployment being evident but the peak periods of the claims towards the end of certain recessions is a sign of thigns to come in my opinion. I could mean that the peak has hit and that we are towards the end of this recession. We all hope its true, i guess well just have to wait and see.

  2. 2 Kittygirl707 August 6, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    It’s sad to see so many experts grabbing at straws so they can come up with any sort of positive spin on these numbers. To “seasonally adjust” the figures so they sound better or worse (depending on the author’s slant) is actually kind of pathetic. There are a lot of people unemployed and shifting the comparison method from apples to oranges isn’t going to solve anything. Let’s look at the real issues that face United States corporations such as mismanagement and greed. Until that can happen the unskilled workers don’t stand a chance and unemployment will continue to rise.


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