Thursday, August 16, 2012

Labor market fundamentals continue to improve


Now that all the seasonal noise has been washed out of the data, unemployment claims turn out to have been bumping along a bottom of roughly 360K per week for most of this year, and the most recent datapoint is down about 10% from a year ago. We still have modest improvement going on here, but perhaps more importantly, absolutely no sign of any labor market deterioration, especially of the type that presages recessions.


Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance continues to decline, and is down almost 17% over the past year. That's 1.1 million fewer people receiving checks for not working in just the past year. Some of them have undoubtedly gotten new jobs, and some of them are undoubtedly looking for a new job with new-found intensity. Others are not happy at all. Businesses, for their part, do not seem to sense any deterioration in their markets. All of this is an important change on the margin that affects the economy in many small ways, most of them good.

5 comments:

Dr William J McKibbin said...

As I recall from my history, Ireland had zero unemployment claims during the Great Famine (which was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration between 1845 and 1852) -- the "labor market fundamentals" were certainly strong in Ireland at that time...

Squire said...

At 2:40pm ET, the S&P is 3 points shy of its previous recovery high of 1419 set April 2.

I feel like I am watching a football game, biting my fingernails, with many web sites even today calling for a recession. And calling for the collapse of the financial system when China China or Europe finally collapses.

Collapse collapse collapse all over the net.

Bill said...

Fear sells.

Henry H said...

460k claims per week seems to be a typographical error. I don't believe it has been over 400k claims per week for 2012.

Scott Grannis said...

Henry: thanks for pointing out that typo. My bad. Text has been corrected to reflect 360K.