Thursday, March 04, 2010
The Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell from an upwardly revised three-month high of 498,000 to 469,000 during the week ended February 27th. As shown below, the four-week moving average fell by 3,500 to 470,750, a level that is still quite high as compared to prior recessions.
For example, during the 2001 recession, the four-week moving average exceeded the current level only four times and, during the 1991 recession, this level was surpassed for just two months. Despite the widespread belief (amongst economists, at least) that the recession ended last summer, weekly jobless claims are still about the same as when the 1991 and 2001 recessions were at their worst.
More evidence that the current recession has little in common with the last two comes in the continuing and extended claims data. Continuing claims fell to 4.5 million, a 13-month low, however, extended claims continue to rise, now at 5.9 million.