Wikinvest Wire

Unemployment claims surge

Thursday, April 03, 2008

New claims filed for unemployment benefits surged to 407,000 last week, the first time the psychologically important 400,000 level has been breached since 2003, excluding the hurricane-affected period in September of 2005.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile indicator of job losses, rose from 358,750 to 374,500 and the number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since July of 2004. For the week ending March 22, the most recent period for which data is available, continuing claims rose 97,000 to 2.94 million.

When Fed Chief Ben Bernanke returns to Capitol Hill today, he may want to consider upgrading his recession forecast from "possible" to "probable".

Anticipation for tomorrow's monthly employment report has been ratcheted up another notch - the consensus estimate is for a decline of 50,000 in nonfarm payrolls.

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Tim said...

From this morning's WSJ Ahead of the Tape:

Though recession is the Wall Street consensus, several lights on the recession dashboard aren't yet lit.

Weekly claims for unemployment benefits haven't gotten to levels associated with previous recessions. The Labor Department reports the latest claims data Thursday morning; economists, on average, think they edged up to 370,000 in the week of March 29. That's up from 319,000 a year ago but still less than the roughly 400,000 level breached in prior recessions.

ISM in the low forties and negative real growth in consumer spending were the other dashboard lights.

The Inscrutable Chicken said...

An even longer term chart (going back to the 60s) can be seen here

and the continuing claims chart looks pretty much the same.

At this point it is no longer anti-consensual to say that things are not good. What is still contrarian is that the tsunami to come is the worst that most of us have seen in our lifetimes.

Keep up the good work Tim - you make my job easier.

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