Jobless claims decline slightly to 420,000

The US Department of Labor noted this morning that:

In the week ending Dec. 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 420,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 423,000. The 4-week moving average was 422,750, a decrease of 5,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 428,000.

This move downward is consistent with the slow trend toward a weak jobs market from a terrible one. Last month saw fewer than 50,000 jobs added to non-farm payrolls. This is weak by any classification of a technical recovery. However, the weakness appears to be more concentrated in a lack of hiring than in a rush of new layoffs.  The JOLTS data suggest that job openings are increasing. The report released last week from the October period showed the number of people looking for work per job opening in the US has declined while the number of job openings is up. Again, this is largely consistent with a weak recovery.

JOLTS 2010-10

JOLTS Job Openings 2010-10

Also note that the technical recovery will become an actual statistical recovery in 2011 when real GDP surpasses the level it reached before the recession began in December 2007.

Source: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights – October 2010, BLS

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