Thursday, April 17, 2008

More mixed data on the unemployment front

Once again the weekly unemployment insurance initial claims report does more to confuse people than to clarify the state of the economy. There was a moderate rise in initial claims this week, but the more-accurate 4-week moving average declined slightly. Both numbers (372,000 and 376,000) remain elevated, but still moderately below the 400,000 level traditionally associated with a recession.

Continuing claims do remain elevated, approaching 3 million, almost half a million higher than a year ago.

So, we do have some warning signs, but there is nothing here to indicate that we in the middle of a full-blown recession.

In short, the elevated level of initial claims suggest that we may be at the edge of a recession, but you will have to look elsewhere if you want evidence that we are in a full-blown recession.

-- Jack Krupansky

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