Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jobless Claims Drop for 13th Week to 13-Mo. Low

WASHINGTON New claims for unemployment benefits in the United States fell unexpectedly, according to the latest weekly data Thursday, showing fresh signs of stabilization in the ailing labor market. The seasonally adjusted number of new unemployment claims in the week ending November 28 fell to 457,000, down 1.1 percent from the previous week's downwardly revised figure of 462,000, the Labor Department said.

New claims for unemployment insurance benefits are now at the lowest level since September 2008 and have declined for five consecutive weeks, the longest streak since the US economy entered recession in December 2007. The four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, was 481,250, a decrease of 14,250 from the previous week's revised average of 495,000 (see chart above).

MP: Jobless claims (4-week moving average) have now decreased for the 13th consecutive week to a new 13-month low of 481,250, the lowest level since November 1, 2008.


At 12/03/2009 12:24 PM, Blogger Bruce Hall said...

At what point does the time limit for benefits begin to roll through the statistics so that of the millions who are unemployed... and remain so... only a small portion are covered and can be covered.

The point is that if a large enough group are unemployed and you keep adding to the group, at some point the statistics will begin to show "less bad" as the mix shifts from business-employed to self-employed or just-given-up-and-can't-collect-anymore.

Or am I misreading the tea leaves?

At 12/03/2009 12:27 PM, Blogger James Fraasch said...

Two points/questions on this.

First, an important piece of information that does not get reported is the number of people who are off the rolls and have not been on them for months. There is just no way to account for them is there?

Second, historically speaking I would expect that November would see significant declines in jobless claims each and every year due to seasonal hiring. UPS said recently that they expect to hire some 30,000 workers for the holidays. That will certainly make some people happy.

Information like unemployment claims is important but the macro context is perhaps even more so.

Thanks for the info.


At 12/03/2009 12:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

How does the employment offices being closed for two days due to the Thanksgiving holiday factor in?
I assume that more claims would have been filed with the offices open on Thursday and Friday...

This could cause a increase in claims during the report on this week.

At 12/03/2009 2:25 PM, Anonymous Junkyard_hawg1985 said...


The plot that Mark has shown is for the seasonally adjusted unemployment first time claims. It corrects for seasonal effects. During November, the actual results and seasonally adjusted results are fairly close.

What is missing is the number of people not covered by unemployment insurance. Only about 38% of the people who become unemployed receive unemployment benefits so this data is a subset of the overall employment picture. In this sector of the workforce, the improvement does appear to be real. In the past few months, the overall employment picture has been deteriorating more that the weekly numbers would suggest. Tomorrow's November unemployment report should tell us a lot.


I think the number you are asking about is continuing claims. This number is also getting better.


The data is adjusted for the shorter week because of Thanksgiving. We may see a significant change next week as the correction for the short week is not always that accurate.

At 12/03/2009 2:52 PM, Blogger James Fraasch said...

Thanks Junkyard.

At 12/03/2009 8:41 PM, Blogger bobble said...

junkyard:' . . . continuing claims. This number is also getting better. "

JY, thanks for the info and link. but, i couldn't find that info for decreasing continuing claims.

i did see that "States reported 3,859,553 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Nov. 14, an increase of 265,300 from the prior week."

that's an increase not a decrease. can you point me to the info you are referring to?

At 12/04/2009 4:29 AM, Anonymous No Hopers said...

And it's been the 23rd consecutive MONTH of job losses.

"Only" 461,000 additional people filed for unemployment claims. Christmas came early for 14,250 seasonally adjusted people!

At this rate, we'll reach 320,000 initial unemployment claims by July 4th, 2010. During that time, another 12 million people will have filed initial unemployment claims.

Only about 38% of the people who become unemployed receive unemployment benefits

A point repeatedly brought up every time this chart appears. And the longer people remain unemployed, underemployed, or in temporary jobs, the greater number of them who will be INELIGIBLE for future benefits because they haven't worked sufficiently long for their employer. Not only does this fact mean that claims WILL come down, it means they will come down at a slower and slower rate.

We're often reminded that in a "good" economy we lose about a million jobs a month. The difference is that we ADD that many or more. We haven't added any jobs in a very, very long time.

This graph is a pile of horse manure. The fact that the pile is growing at a slower pace doesn't make it any less of a pile of horse manure. Look at the AREA under this graph. THAT is the number of people who have to find jobs.

At 12/04/2009 7:37 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Don Suber has a clip of Senator Hatch that's driving some folks nutz: "I don’t know why people on the other side are so doggone stupid that they think the federal government is going to produce jobs"...

Consider the two jobs sectors that are expanding, health care and government work...

At 12/04/2009 9:30 AM, Anonymous Junkyard_hawg1985 said...


The table in the link shows continuing claims. Under 4 wk moving average of continuing claims it shows:

Nov 7: 5,712,250
Nov 14: 5,617,250
Nov 21: 5,541,500

This is what I based my statement of a drop in continuing claims on.

Today's unemployment result may finally show the end of the recession as well. October 2009 may turn out to be the bottom of the unemployment picture. In October, total employment was 138.275 million. In November, the total rose to 138.502 million. I prefer this data to the weekly claims as it covers the entire employment pool. The peak employment number was 146.665 million in November 2007 (start of recession). It will take a few more months of data to confirm that October was indeed the bottom. There have been a couple of bad signs lately in the November retail sales report and the November ISM services index.


Post a Comment

<< Home