Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mostly good news on the unemployment claims front

The news was mostly good from the weekly unemployment insurance initial claims report. Initial claims were down, the more-reliable 4-week moving average was down, and continuing claims were down. The only bad news was the the 4-week moving average of continuing claims continues to rise.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims is sitting at 369,500, which is somewhat elevated (compared to 324,000 a year ago), but still moderately belong the 400,000 threshold traditionally associated with a full-blown recession.

Continuing claims remain elevated, flirting with the 3 million, 442,000 higher than a year ago.

The insured unemployment rate remains stable at 2.2%, up from 1.9% a year ago.

So, unemployment insurance claims are flashing yellow, 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 near the edge of a recession, but you will have to look elsewhere if you want evidence that we are in a full-blown recession rather than merely a slowdown or soft patch.

-- Jack Krupansky

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