Friday, 21 December 2007

Initial Jobless Claims tick higher

Whilst not reaching alarming levels yet the 4 week moving average of jobless claims continues to creep higher suggesting the labour market is not as healthy as the pollyannas would have us believe. From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending Dec. 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 346,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 334,000. The 4-week moving average was 343,000, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 338,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0 percent for the week ending Dec. 8, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 2.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Dec. 8 was 2,646,000, an increase of 12,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,634,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,633,000, an increase of 23,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,610,000.

The 4 week moving average of initial claims is at it's highest since October 2005, but it is still far from recessionary levels. However I don't want to sound like one of those economists who won't admit the house is on fire until the blaze is in full swing. Remember employment growth usually does not turn consistently negative until well into a recession and by that time you would have been late to the party. The upward trend over the last couple of months is sending a smoke signal that not all is well in the US labour market.