U.S. unadjusted jobless claims fourth highest in history
This past week, jobless claims in the U.S. soared as they always do after the holiday season. For the week ending Jan. 10th, initial jobless claims were 524,000, up 54,000 from the prior week. However, this figure is completely distorted by seasonal factors. Underneath lurks a wave of flings. The unadjusted real figure was 952,151, the 4th highest ever. The only other times we have seen more jobless claims was in 1975, 1982, and 1983 following the holiday season. Do not be deceived by sloppy reporting from the mainstream media that focuses on the seasonally-adjusted numbers.
What’s more, the unadjusted continuing claims number was also very high. The seasonally adjusted number dropped to 4.497 million from last week’s 4.612 million. However, the real number increased by 500,000 to 5.8 million, the highest figure ever. The U.S. population has increased greatly since the statistics began in 1967, therefore the 5.8 million figure is deceptively large in comparison to equivalent numbers for the recessions around 1973-1975 and 1980-1983.
Nevertheless, this is an extremely bad report. For example, unadjusted claims were 547K on 12 Jan 2008, 506K on 13 Jan 2007, 555K on 7 Jan 2006, 694K on 8 Jan 2005, 678K on 10 Jan 2004, 724K on 11 Jan 2003, and so on down the line. That should give you a feel for how bad these numbers are. In 2002, we saw the highest figure from the last recession at just under 800,000 after the holiday season.
The long and short of this is the job market is extremely weak in the United States and this will be more apparent after seasonal adjustments become less of a factor.
Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – U.S. Department of Labor