Thursday, October 01, 2009

Jobless Claims (4Wk. Avg.) Fall to Lowest Level in 36 Weeks, Down 110,750 From Early April Peak

WASHINGTON — First-time claims for jobless benefits increased more than expected last week, a sign employers are reluctant to hire and the job market remains weak. And while consumer spending jumped by the most in nearly eight years in August due partly to the government's Cash for Clunkers program, economists worry whether that rebound can be sustained with U.S. households facing rising unemployment, tight credit conditions and other obstacles.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 551,000 from 534,000 in the previous week. Wall Street economists expected an increase of 5,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The increase comes after three weeks of declines. Weekly claims have been trending down since the spring, but the decline has been painfully slow. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped to 548,000, about 110,000 below its peak in early April (see chart above).

MP: From the peak in early April, the four-week average has fallen by 110,750, and that measure of jobless claims has fallen in 19 out of the last 25 weeks. A comparison of the recent 110,750 decline to the last two recessions in the chart above, suggests that claims have been falling pretty sharply, and not "painfully slow," especially compared to the 1990-1991 recession.


At 10/01/2009 9:40 AM, Blogger John Thacker said...

Stock market's down because investors actually expected it to come even lower. But most ordinary people are concerned about the change, not the expectations.

I see that pending home sales are way up.

We don't actually have much of a surplus of houses in most places. We had a ridiculous price bubble in some areas; as the price return to a normal level, sales increase. Short sales and foreclosures make it harder, though.

At 10/01/2009 5:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"From the peak in early July, the four-week average has fallen by 110,750, and that measure of jobless claims has fallen in 19 out of the last 25 weeks"...

Hmmm, interesting...

At this BLS url:

I was checking out the, 'Number Unemployed for 27 Weeks & over' (LNS13008636) and it seems that from Jan. '09 to Aug. '09 the number goes up quite steadily:

(number in thousands)

Series id,Year,Period,Value,

At 10/01/2009 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at 2007 to 2008, it looks like Bush's tax cuts targeted to prevent a recession did a lot of good, but I don't know for whom.



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