Carpe Diem

Jobless claims fell to a near 5-year low last week



The charts above show the gradual, but ongoing improvements in the US labor market, based on the decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance.  The Department of Labor reported today that the four-week moving average of initial jobless claims fell to 350,500 for the week ending last Saturday, which is the lowest level since early March 2008, almost five years ago (see top chart).  The bottom chart displays initial jobless claims adjusted for the size of the US labor market, and shows jobless claims as a share of total US employment. By that measure, jobless claims in January were 0.249% of total civlian employment, which is the lowest level since March 2008, providing further confirmation of a gradually improving job market.  At the current rates of decline, both measures of initial jobless claims should be back to pre-recession 2007 levels within the next several months.

5 thoughts on “Jobless claims fell to a near 5-year low last week

  1. us payrolls peaked in jan 2008 at a little over 138mm.

    they bottomed at 129mm and change in 2/10 and we are now at 134.8mm.

    138056 – 129320 = 8.736mm jobs lost and 5.48mm recovered off the bottom, which is more than half.

    of course, population has gone up by 12 million since 2008, so workforce participation has stayed very low and was only 0.1% above the recession low for january down at levels not seen since the early 80′s. this figure would be a great deal worse if the disability rolls had not doubled and pulled 4.5 million out of the workforce.

    aging boomers may account for some of this, but, as the 55+ demo is the only one where jobs have actually gone up since the start of the recession, this seems to be fairly minimal. the big hits have been among the young.

    so, all in all, yeah, sort of a muddy picture. some jobs are coming back, but they do not seem to be keeping pace with population growth.

    i think this chart from CR really lays the situation out well.

    this has been, by far, the weakest jobs recovery since ww2 and at the current trajectory, we could be looking at 2 more years to recover.

  2. Is it just me, or wouldn’t people rather NOT have jobs? I’d rather be retired, relaxing on a beach. There have always been and always will be more jobs than people. Much of my life has been directed toward increasing my current and future leisure. We should be focusing on productivity and savings, not work and spending.

    • Good point, Luther. Perhaps we could say that OTHERS should have jobs to ensure that our needs and wants are met in our leisurely retirement. :)

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