Initial weekly unemployment claims is a volatile number, subject to revisions. Regardless the below graph shows a disturbing trend in weekly initial unemployment claims, they simply are not going down to pre-recession levels. The 4-week average on initial unemployment claims is as high as April 2010.
In the week ending July 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 457,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 468,000. The 4-week moving average was 452,500, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 457,000.
A general rule of thumb is weekly initial unemployment claims need to drop below 400,000 for job growth to occur.
Below is the log of the initial unemployment claims 4 week average for a decade. By using logs, we create a noise filter on weekly initial claims to see the change over time. As you can see, it appears weekly initial claims have found their bottom and are staying there. That bottom is above the level we need for job creation.
That is super bad news and implies Americans are going to have structurally permanent job losses.