Adjusted Jobless Claims Fall 12th Straight Month
I haven't featured jobless claims adjusted for the size of labor force for a few months, so here's the new chart above (BLS data here and here). Jobless claims averaged 459,187.5 in March, which is 0.3306% of the March labor force of 138,905,000, and represents an 18-month low (lowest since September 2008). For each of the last 12 months starting in April of last year, jobless claims as a percent of the labor force have declined.
This measure of initial jobless claims, adjusted for the increasing size of the U.S. labor force over time, shows that jobless claims peaked during this recession above the levels of the last two recessions (1990-1991 and 2001), but were never anywhere close to the levels of the previous three recessions in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. The sharp reduction in adjusted jobless claims from the March 2009 high follows the same pattern of sharp reductions at the end of each of the last five recessions.
See a very similar analysis here from the always-excellent Scott Grannis, who alternatively calculates jobless claims as a percent of payrolls with the exact same graphical pattern presented here using jobless claims as a percent of the labor force (slightly different denominator, but same numerator, and same story).