Friday, 27 June 2008

US Jobless Cliams Hit Fresh 4 Year Highs

The 4 week moving average of Initial Jobless claims hit their (excluding the hurricane Katrina blip) highest level in more than 4 and a half years at 378,250.

Continuing claims also hit levels not seen in almost 4 and half years at 3.1 million. Claims have pulled higher in recent weeks after being in a range for a couple of months.

The chart below comes from Paul Kasriel at Northern Trust and shows the Conference Board survey of whether jobs are hard to get. Let's see what Kasriel has to say about this particular indicator;

The spread between the percentages of respondents saying that jobs are hard to get minus the percentage saying that jobs are plentiful hit its highest level since December 2003. Chart 3 shows that there is a high correlation, 0.87, between this spread and the level of the unemployment rate. So, you might want to prepare for some pyrotechnics on Thursday morning, July 3.

With jobless claims inching higher and with US workers saying that jobs are harder to get, we may start to see some triple digit declines in non-farm payrolls in the months ahead.