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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Down

First time unemployment claims decrease.

First time unemployment claims, after a few weeks of meandering and an increase, renewed their downward trend last week.  From the current report:

In the week ending April 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 365,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 392,000. The 4-week moving average was 383,500, an increase of 750 from the previous week's revised average of 382,750.

A few comments:  1.  These are first time claims, so people losing extended benefits or any unemployment benefits would not be counted in these numbers.  2.  They are seasonally adjusted, so most variations caused by weather are already included in these numbers.  3.  As these are weekly numbers, they are more volatile than the monthly numbers (which come out tomorrow.)

The chart below is the BEST chart for understanding and observing changes in the weekly initial claims numbers.  This year (red) and the past two years (green and blue) 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.  You an also see that the April bulge, visible during the 1st-2nd week of April in all three years, has ended in 2012, with a return to first time claims levels of March.  For reference, the initial claims in April were around 260,000 in the year 2000, and about 300,000 in 2006 and 2007.  These are the lowest April initial claims numbers since 2008.

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

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