Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Initial Jobless Claims: 466,000 !

- by New Deal democrat

The BLS reported that for the week ending Nov. 21, seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims were 466,000. Last week's number was revised to 501,000. This is the best showing since "Black September" 2008 when the economy nearly ground to a panicked halt.

The 4-week moving average was 496,500, a decrease of 16,500 from the previous week's revised average of 513,000. The 4 week seasonally adjusted moving average is now about 24% lower than the peak of 658,750 on April 3 of this year.

Unadjusted, there were 543,926 new claims, an increase of 68,080 from the week before, and well below the 609,138 initial claims in the same week last year. In unadjusted terms, this was the best new claims number, relative to normal seasonal adjustment, in well over a year.
Because the BLS normally surveys business payrolls in the week ending the 12th of the month, this decrease if it persists won't show up until the December jobs number. If it does, according to my previous research, this indicates that jobs are actually being added to the economy. In this position I am at odds with people like Berkeley Economics Professor Brad DeLong and Calculated Risk, who say that the claims number must drop ot 400,000 before jobs are added. A number like today's is why I said I have no problem being proven wrong, provided that it is done quickly!

In that regard, here is a repost of some numbers I posted two weeks ago:

At the time of the 501,250 4 week average of new jobless claims reading in 1990, payrolls lost 160,000 that month and 211,000 the next. In 2001, the new jobless claims high of 489,250 coincided with payroll losses of 325,000 that month and 292,000 the next. This year, we have already seen in August new jobless claims in the 560,000-570,000 range coinciding with a payroll loss of 151,000.