Initial weekly unemployment claims for March 12, 2011

Initial weekly unemployment claims decreased to 385,000 this week and last week was revised up to 401,000. The 4 week moving average dropped to 386,250. Weekly unemployment claims seem to be hovering right above the job creation point of 375,000 per week now.



The magic number to show job creation is at minimum, below 400,000 initial unemployment claims per week and most Economists will quote 375,000. There now seems to be a clear pattern of initial claims finally dropping, but will it continue to drop which would imply finally some jobs are created?

From the jobless claims report:

In the week ending March 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 385,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 401,000. The 4-week moving average was 386,250, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 393,250.

Below is the mathematical log of initial weekly unemployment claims, so one can get a better sense of the rise and fall of the numbers. A log helps remove some statistical noise, it's kind of an averaging. As we can see we have a step rise during the height of the recession, but then a leveling, not a similar decline....for a long period. Instead, we have this yo-yo bobblehead, over 400,000 every week on initial claims, never ending labor malaise for most of the time after the recession ended in July 2009. Now, notice the tail or the right of the graph, it appears a downward slope, a decline initial claims, is emerging in February.



Below is the 4 week moving average, set to a logarithmic scale to remove even more statistical noise, for the last year. Here a trend is appearing that weekly initial unemployment claims are finally dropping. Again, we need the 4 week moving average to stay below 400,000 and keep dropping. Numerous economists say the number is 375,000 to show job growth. We see a strong decline, but remember the record highs. We need this number to keep dropping. That said, one can say a pattern has emerged of a downward progression in the 4 week moving average.



Below is a 2 year view of the 4 week moving average, set to a log scale. This shows while the immediate change looks promising, we are nowhere near pre-recession initial weekly unemployment claims levels.



On continuing claims, those also dropped:

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 5 was 3,706,000, a decrease of 80,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,786,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,779,000, a decrease of 58,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,837,000.

In the week ending February 26th, there were 8,953,610 official people obtaining some sort of unemployment insurance benefit.

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