AUG: +151,000 jobs. Unemployment rate steady at 4.9%. AUG details here!.. Jobs since Obama took office?... Unemp. rate under Obama?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Down Significantly (Week of October 6th)


First time unemployment jobless claims decreased by 30,000 for the week ending October 6th.  The four-week moving average # of claims decreased by a significant 11,500.  We have not had initial claims lower than this week's 339,000 since January 2008. 


For the week ending September 22nd, 5,044,649 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state, extended benefits, federal extended unemployment compensation, or a few other smaller programs).  This is a decline of about 44,000 continuing claims since the prior week. 

Percent of Unemployed People Receiving Benefits is stable at about 
41.7%.


Extended Benefits claims expire as no states are still eligible for Extended Benefits.  Only 6.6%  of the number of people who were receiving Extended Benefits a year ago are receiving Extended Benefits this week.  


The chart above is one of the BEST charts for understanding and observing changes in the weekly initial claims numbers over time.  This year (red-2012) and the past three years (blue- 2009green- 2010 and black- 2011) are marked in different colors.  You can see that, as a trend, first time claims for unemployment have gone down SIGNIFICANTLY from one year to the next, even though there are variations within the year.  




First time unemployment claims decreased significantly by 30,000 over those reported last week.  Last week's claims were revised upwards by 2,000.  The four-week moving average increased by 11,500.  Initial claims had stayed within a small range for the past two months, but starting three weeks ago and culminating with this report, the best report since 2008, the trend in initial claims has been down.  There have been slight upwards revisions  (2,000 to 3,000) in the numbers of initial claims in most of the weeks of the past four months.  (The chart above shows REVISED claims numbers.)

As usual, to put this into perspective, check out the red line on the chart above to see where jobless claims are now, in autumn of 2012, compared to  autumn of the past three years.

From the current report:
In the week ending October 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 339,000, a decrease of 30,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 369,000. The 4-week moving average was 364,000, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500.
The initial claims as announced last week were 367,000, so the claims from that week were revised upwards by 2,000. 

The chart above is one of the BEST charts for understanding and observing changes in the weekly initial claims numbers over time.  This year (red-2012) and the past three years (blue- 2009green- 2010 and black- 2011) are marked in different colors.  You can see that, as a trend, first time claims for unemployment have gone down SIGNIFICANTLY from one year to the next, even though there are variations within the year.  

Be aware that:

  1. These are first time claims, so people who have continued to receive benefits or who have lost unemployment benefits would not be counted in these numbers.  
  2. They are seasonally adjusted, so most variations caused by weather or holidays are already included in these numbers.  
  3. As these are weekly numbers, they are more volatile than the monthly numbers.
Current Summer Initial Claims Continue to be the Lowest Since 2008; Historical Claims Data Below

As a whole, the current numbers of initial claims continue to be the lowest spring-summer initial claims numbers since 2007, as can be seen on the chart above.  

Average initial claims for this time of year for earlier years include:

  • October 2000:  297,000
  • October 2001:  482,000
  • October 2002:  408,000 
  • October 2003:  378,000
  • October 2004:  334,500
  • October 2005:  360,000 
  • October 2006:  315,000
  • October 2007:  312,000
  • October 2008:  474,000

    Early October 2012 4-week moving average:  364,000 

Continuing regular state claims, from people who are continuing to claim unemployment through the initial 20 to 26 week regular unemployment program, decreased 15,000 for the week ending September 29th after increasing by 7,000 the week before.  3,273,000 people filed continuing regular state claims in the week ending September 29th.  As a whole, continuing regular claims continue to decline despite some individual weekly increases.  (There were 3,680,000 continuing claims a year ago.) 

Total number of people receiving unemployment insurance increased slightly to 41.7% of the officially unemployed for the week ending September 22nd.  

The weekly report also tells us the total number of people who are receiving unemployment benefits.  For the week ending September 22nd, 5,044,609 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state, extended benefits, federal extended unemployment compensation, or a few other smaller programs).  This compares with 12,088,000 people who are unemployed according to the monthly September unemployment situation report which was released two weeks ago.  Those numbers, showing that only 41.7% of the officially unemployed are receiving benefits, should make it clear that people do NOT need to be receiving unemployment insurance to be counted among the unemployed.

Extended Benefits (EB) Expire

All states have now "triggered" off of Extended Benefits.

As of the week ending September 22nd, only 35,000 people were still receiving Extended Benefits.  As recently as late April, 350,579 people were receiving Extended Benefits.  A year ago, 535,518 people were receiving Extended Benefits.

In about four months, 89% of the people who were receiving Extended Benefits are no longer receiving such benefits.  We do not know how many of these 315,000 people found jobs, how many have another source of income in the family, and how many have nothing. 

To reiterate, while a decrease in the number of people FILING for initial claims is a good thing and indicates that fewer people are being laid off, a decrease in the TOTAL number of people getting unemployment insurance may only show that fewer people are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Any questions or confusion, please leave a comment or email me!


No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate intelligent comments and questions, including those that are at odds with anything posted here. I have elected not to screen comments before they are published; however, any comments that are in any way insulting, caustic, or intentionally inflammatory will be deleted without notice. Spam will also be immediately deleted.