Initial Jobless Claims Hold at High Level
This morning, the Department of Labor announced that weekly initial jobless claims remained high, at 456,000. That is a decline of 3,000 from last week’s claim, upwardly revised to 459,000. The four-week average ticked up to 463,000. Economists had expected initial claims to fall to 450,000. I’ll repeat what I noted last week about the ill effects of the stall-out in the decline in unemployment:
Starting last spring, weekly initial jobless benefit claims slid downward. In the past few months, that decline has stopped. Essentially, the economy is improving but not adding nearly enough new jobs to bring the unemployment rate down, and if the unemployment rate does not come down, it slows down the recovery. Here is a chart of the claims since January 2008, with the stabilization around 450,000 on the right-hand side:
One good note in the report: The number of people claiming ongoing unemployment benefits — not those claiming extended state or federal benefits, and therefore people between the first and 26th week of unemployment — fell to the lowest level since 2008. The number of claimers fell 255,000 in a single week, to 4,462,000.