Thursday, May 07, 2009

Jobless Claims Fall For The Fourth Straight Week to the Lowest Level Since Mid-February

WASHINGTON -- New U.S. claims for state unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, the fourth decline in five weeks, providing further evidence that the pace of layoffs has slowed after months of steep job cuts. Initial claims for state jobless benefits tumbled 34,000 to 601,000 in the week ended May 2, the Labor Department said in a weekly report Thursday. That's the lowest level since late January. Wall Street economists had expected a 4,000 rise, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

The four-week average -- which aims to smooth volatility -- slid for a fourth-straight week, by 14,750 to 623,500, the lowest since mid-February (see chart above).

MP: On a monthly basis, there was a decline of 35,250 claims (four-week moving average) from early April to early May. Going back to 1987, there have only been 16 times when the monthly decline in jobless claims was greater, and 9 of those 16 times were towards the end of, or following, the 1990-1991 recession and the 2001 recession.

3 Comments:

At 5/07/2009 9:30 AM, Blogger Kentucky Packrat said...

While it's good that only 602000 jobs were lost last week, that slightly obscures the fact that 600,000 people lost their jobs last week. In a healthy or near-healthy environment, you're losing around as many jobs as you're creating. We are not creating anywhere near 600k jobs a week.

According to the official numbers ( http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm ), U-6 (everyone who would work full-time but can't) is at 16%. Shadowstats ( http://shadowstats.com/imgs/sgs-emp.gif ) is claiming that the real number is 20%. There is no way the markets, at least, are priced anywhere close to that kind of reality.

In the face of that, yes, any turnaround is good news, but it's kinda like my former church crowing about growing to 700 regular attenders a few months ago. It's a good stat until you consider that 1 year before, they were at 1200 regular attenders.

 
At 5/07/2009 12:36 PM, Blogger Tim Schilling said...

Actually, I don't think this means 602,000 people lost their jobs. It does say that 602,000 new people applied for benefits.

My question is "how will this be reflected in the overall unemployment rate?" Wouldn't the "discouraged worker effect" fit in here someplace?

 
At 5/14/2009 4:40 PM, Blogger Bill said...

I believe these numbers are the initial jobless claims, and that if you were to chart continuing claims, you'd find they were still going up.

 

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