Thursday, July 19, 2018

US layoff rate at all time lows

 - by New Deal democrat

I don't write about new jobless claims much anymore, mainly because it has been boringly good for a few years (outside of hurricane disruptions!).  But there are times like this week when I am particularly thankful that I am concentrating on the one thing - the economy - that is doing unequivocally well.

Back in 2009 and 2010 when I was arguing with the Doomer dead-end recession double-dippers, I used to hear from people who were still in danger of, or worse, had been laid off. I sympathized, and just noted that, however bad things seemed, they had been even worse in 2008 and early 2009, and conditions were still going to improve.

I haven't heard stories like that in a few years. One of my milestones was when Atrios over at the Eschaton blog stopped reporting on the weekly jobless claims as "xxx,000 new lucky duckies."

Well, this morning, we had yet another new 48 year low in initial jobless claims, at 207,000. We had lower numbers, in the high 100,000's, in the 1960s, but that was against a US population that was only half of what it is now.

In other words, we have never had a lower *rate* of layoffs for as long as records have been collected:

As of this morning, roughly only 1 in 800 workers is filing a new jobless claim each week.

Occasionally  I still see it noted that the percent of jobs which qualify for filing for unemployment insurance is lower than it used to be. That is true, but the DoL keeps track of that number as well, and we can calculate what the number of initial claims would be normed for  this:

If the same percent of jobs now qualified for unemployment insurance as at any point in the last 50+ years, it would translate into about 270,000 new claims per week -- still a very good number.

So today I will celebrate one unabashedly good thing about the US economy: it is almost unheard of now to get laid off.