Jobless Claims down, continuing claims way up

The Department of Labor released jobless claims numbers today at 8:30 AM. Jobless claims came in at 445,000, down from an upwardly revised 451,000 the week before. Claims are averaging now 440,000 for the past 4 weeks, 115000 higher than at this time last year.

Continuing claims spiked up sharply to 3.525 million from a downwardly revised 3.403 million the week before. Here too, the average claims number has risen sharply higher. At 3.429 million, it is up 846,250 on last year’s numbers.

This week I wanted focus fully on the change in initial and continuing jobless claims.

I have often said that it is as much if not more the rate of acceleration in unemployment claims that determines how we react in terms of personal consumption. Jobless claims can be relatively low, but if they rise precipitously in a short span, we will pull back all the same. In the case of the present U.S. employment situation, claims are both high and rising. The change in both initial jobless claims and continuing claims has been marked over the last year. There is little doubt from these numbers that we are experiencing a recession.

Below are the charts for both initial unemployment claims and continuing claims fr the last two years. I have used 4-week average numbers to smooth out comparisons.

Initial Unemployment Claims, Department of Labor

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