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Thursday, June 04, 2009 1:38 PM

Initial Unemployment Claims Dip Slightly; Continuing Claims Dip Slightly Snapping Streak at 17

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The string of 17 consecutive weeks of higher continuing claims ended today with slight dip in claims.

Continuing claims hit 6.788 million last week, setting a 17th consecutive record (revised slightly lower to 6.750 million). Today's number is 6.735 million, breaking the streak (assuming the number is not revised up later).

Please consider the Department of Labor Weekly Claims Report.

Seasonally Adjusted Data

In the week ending May 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 621,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 625,000. The 4-week moving average was 631,250, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 627,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 5.0 percent for the week ending May 23, unchanged from the prior week's revised rate of 5.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 23 was 6,735,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,750,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,687,500, an increase of 88,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 6,598,750.
Weekly Claims

click on chart for sharper image

The dip in initial claims from the March peak of roughly 650,000 is not accelerating very fast, if indeed at all.

Note that the 4-week moving average of initial claims rose this week after generally declining for a couple months. Also note that the 4-week moving average of continuing claims rose a significant amount.

Economists expect to see unemployment by 10% at the end of the year. I expect to see it at 9.8%+- by August and approaching 11% by the end of the year. Bear in mind the "stress-free tests" conducted by the Fed had an adverse scenario of 10.3% at the end of 2010.

Finally, I would like to point out that unemployment insurance does run out. People will drop off the rolls when benefits expire.

Those looking for a recovery in jobs soon are going to be disappointed.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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