Thursday, January 4, 2024

Initial claims: the return of “almost nobody is getting laid off”


 - by New Deal democrat

We’re back to the virtuous scenario where almost nobody is getting laid off.

Initial jobless claims for the last week of December declined -18,000 to 202,000, the lowest since October. More importantly, the 4 week average declined -4,750 to 207,750, the lowest since last January. With the usual one week delay, continuing claims declined -31,000 to 1.855 million (since FRED glitched this morning, entering the data for “December 20*24*, I’m not including a graph at this point).

On a YoY% basis, initial claims were down -1.9%, and the more important 4 week average was down -0.7%. Continuing claims were up 12.4%, which nevertheless was the lowest increase since the end of last March.

For purposes of forecasting the effect on the “Sahm rule” measure of the unemployment rate, the entire month of December averaged 210,400 claims, 200 fewer than December 2022, or -0.1% YoY. Needless to say, this does not suggest the “Sahm rule” is going to be triggered anytime soon.

[Note: if FRED fixes its glitch, I will update with better graphs later]