Thursday, February 17, 2022

Jobless claims essentially steady; we have probably seen the low for this expansion


 - by New Deal democrat

[Programming note: I will post about housing permits and starts later this morning.]

Since the crisis in jobless claims is long past, I will keep this note brief.

Initial claims (blue) rose 23,000 to 248,000 (vs. the pandemic low of 188,000 on December 4). The 4 week average (red) declined 10,500 to 243,250 (vs. the pandemic low of 199,750 on December 25). Continuing claims (gold, right scale) declined 26,000 to 1,593,000 (vs. the pandemic low of 1,555,000 on January 1):

It is possible there is some unresolved seasonality due to the pandemic that affected the November and December numbers. It is also likely that the Omicron wave has led to some increased layoffs - which should pass as the wave continues to recede sharply to pre-Omicron levels.

Still, I suspect we have seen the lows in initial claims for this expansion. The increase isn’t enough to be of concern, but on the other hand this is consistent with job growth decelerating this month and the next several months.