Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unemployment claims still look toppy

I noted last week the huge plunge in weekly unemployment claims. It could have been an anomaly, or as we later learned, a problem with many offices being so deluged with claims that reporting systems broke down. The question has been partially answered with this week's number, which showed a large rise in claims (thus implying the previous week was indeed an anomaly and could have been the result of a lack of reporting). Whatever the case, however, if we look at a 4-week moving average (shown in this chart) or any measure of the growth rate of claims, it still looks like the worst is behind us. December could prove to be the peak month for unemployment claims, averaging 553K a week, while today's tally was 524K.

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