Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level Since Mid-2008

by: Mark J. Perry

In another sign that the U.S. labor market is gradually improving, the Labor Department reported today that initial weekly claims for unemployment fell last week to 364,000 (seasonally adjusted), which is the lowest weekly claims count since April 2008, more than three and-a-half years ago. The four-week moving average fell to 380,250 claims, the lowest level since June 2008.

The bottom chart above shows jobless claims adjusted for the size of the labor force by displaying jobless claims as a percent of civilian employment. That adjusted measure of jobless claims is also showing an ongoing decline from the March 2009 peak, to a level that is now far below the post-recession levels in the 1970s and 1980s, and should be consistent with a gradual, but continuing decline in the jobless rate in 2012.