Saturday, January 26, 2008

UI Claims point to a healthy labor market

From Mark Perry:

The chart above shows the number of new claims for unemployment benefits in the first month of the last four official recessions using data from the Department of Labor (claims) and the National Bureau of Economic Research (recession dates).

At the onset of each of the last four recessions (1980, 1981, 1990 and 2001), initial claims for unemployment benefits were above the average of 353,000 (from 1967), and in most cases, way above average. The two most recent reports of 301,000 claims (week ending January 19) and 302,000 claims (week ending January 12) suggest that the labor market is healthy and resilient, not weak and anemic.
Jan 31 Update: Bad news today: "In the week ending Jan. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 375,000, an increase of 69,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 306,000. The 4-week moving average was 325,750."