Thursday, February 24, 2011

Inflection point number 1: Initial Jobless Claims

- by New Deal democrat

Last week I wrote that initial jobless claims was one of two series that appeared to be at inflection points. By that I meant that a small move in either one could result in the economy "turning a corner" - but in opposite directions.

This morning's report that Initial jobless claims were only 391,000 brings the 4 week moving average down to the lowest point since before the September 2008 meltdown: 402,000. A number of ~410,000 or less next week will bring this average under 400,000.

The inflection point is that such a number is consistent with average monthly job growth in excess of that necessary to keep up with population growth. It is also consistent with a continuing decline in the unemployment rate. In short, it represents an economy attempting to achieve escape velocity.

Here is an update of the weekly new claims for the last 3 months:

2010-11-20 410000
2010-11-27 438000
2010-12-04 423000
2010-12-11 423000
2010-12-18 420000
2010-12-25 391000
2011-01-01 411000
2011-01-08 447000
2011-01-15 403000
2011-01-22 457000
2011-01-29 419000
2011-02-05 385000
2011-02-12 413000
2011-02-19 391000

With the exception of the two post-January storm outliers, in the last two months every single week has been under 420,000. And now we have had 2 numbers under 400,000 in the last 3 weeks.

This is good news - or at least pretty close.