Unprecedented: Jobless Claims Still Over 600,000

by: Edward Harrison

The U.S. Department of Labor released the latest data for unemployment insurance as it does every Thursday at 830ET. The seasonally adjusted numbers reported were 614,000 initial claims and 6.702 million continuing claims. While this report reinforced the trend of a general decline in jobless claims, it also makes plain that this decline is exceedingly slow.

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Jobless Claims 2009-07-02

We have now seen 22 consecutive weeks with jobless claims over 600,000. This is unprecedented. And while these figures are larger than in previous recessions because the workforce is larger, they are declining half as slow as they have done previously.

Downward trends that are re-enforced.

  1. Year-on-year initial claims numbers are declining. The seasonally-adjusted 4-week average is now 615,250, down from a peak of 658,750 in April.
  2. Year-on-year initial claims comparisons are declining. (Four-week) average seasonally-adjusted numbers are 221K above last year, down from a peak of 300K. Unadjusted numbers are 203 above, down from a peak of 327K.
  3. Year-on-year continuing claims numbers and comparisons are now declining. This trend is in its infancy. However, as many workers are still not finding employment before leaving unemployment insurance, this data series is not a very good indicator of the employment situation.

The unemployment report today showed that the U.S. lost 467,000 jobs in June. Therefore, we will need to see weekly claims much lower in order for the economy to start adding jobs.

Source

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – US Department of Labor