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Unemployment Reminiscent of "Groundhog Day"

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The four-week average isn't showing any improvement.

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Any economists blaming snow for recent weekly claims reports need to search for additional excuses. Once again, today's numbers appear like reporting in the movie Groundhog Day.

Consider the Unemployment Weekly Claims Report for March 11, 2010:

In the week ending March 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 462,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 468,000. The four-week moving average was 475,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised average of 470,500.


Weekly Unemployment Claims

Click to enlarge


The weekly claims numbers are volatile so it's best to focus on the trend in the four-week moving average. That four-week average hasn't show any improvement for quite some time.

Four-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims


The four-week moving average is still near the peak results of the last two recessions. It's important to note those are raw number, not population adjusted. Nonetheless, the numbers do indicate broad weakness.

Four-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims Since 2007


Four-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims Detail


The four-week moving average of claims for the last four weeks is about where it was on December 5, 2009. By this measure, the recovery has stalled. For more on jobs, please see Bragging About Census Hiring Starts Already; I'll Take The Under.
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