I've been keeping my eye on initial unemployment claims as I've been worried they are moving sideways rather than downward. Unfortunately, last week we didn't even get sideways movement -- claims went up:
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase to 484,000, by Calculated Risk: The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:In the week ending April 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 484,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 460,000. The 4-week moving average was 457,750, an increase of 7,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 450,250. ...
This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased this week by 7,500 to 457,750.
The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The current level of 484,000 (and 4-week average of 457,750) is still high, and suggests continuing weakness in the jobs market. This is much worse than expected.
I know everyone has declared that a robust recovery is about to commence and that happy days are here again, but I'd like to see employment markets turn around before declaring victory. (Better news, at least with respect to output, is that both industrial production and capacity utilization increased.)