The first of the above two charts shows the 4-week moving average of unemployment claims. It's approaching relatively low levels. We aren't likely to see claims moving much lower from here; 300K per week is probably what we should expect to see on an ongoing basis if everything were normal (i.e., that would represent normal job turnover). The second chart shows the weekly level of claims and the 52-week moving average of weekly claims. As this demonstrates, claims are still in a declining trend, but the rate of decline is falling.
Congress has still not reauthorized the emergency unemployment claims program that started in mid-2008 and ended early this year. As a result, there are 37% fewer people receiving unemployment insurance benefits today than there were a year ago (almost 2 million fewer). That's good news, since it means that within the ranks of the unemployed there has been a significant increase on the margin in the incentives to find and accept a job. This makes the labor market more dynamic and more healthy, in my view.