Adjusted for the Growth in the U.S. Labor Force, July's Jobless Claims Are Below Average
The bottom graph above (click to enlarge) shows initial jobless claims as a percent of the labor force, to adjust for the increase over time in the population and labor force. July's 0.248% level (383,375 average weekly claims / 154,603,000 labor force) is below the 0.27% to 0.33% range of the last recession in 2001, and way below the 0.30% to 0.40% of the 1990-1991 recession.
Further, today's level of 0.248% is still below the .257% average since 1987. Perhaps the BLS should develop a new measure of unemployment claims, adjusted for the size of the labor force, just like the unemployment rate gets adjusted and reported reported (as a percent of the labor force).