Initial weekly unemployment claims decreased to 398,000, the first time initial claims has dropped below 400,000 since April. That said, last week was revised up from 418,000 to 422,000. The 4 week moving average is 413,750, but declined 8,500 from last week's 422,250. A weekly average above 400,000 does not indicate job growth.
Initial claims is a volatile number and one must at minimum, look at the 4 week average to ascertain any sort of pattern. One week of better news does not an improving job market make.
The magic number to show job creation is at minimum, below 400,000 initial unemployment claims per week and most Economists will quote 375,000.
Below is the mathematical log of initial weekly unemployment claims, so one can get a better sense of the rise and fall of the numbers. A log helps remove some statistical noise, it's kind of an averaging. As we can see we have a step rise during the height of the recession, but then a leveling, not a similar decline....for a long period. Instead, we have this yo-yo bobblehead, hovering around 400,000 every week on initial claims, never ending labor malaise for most of the time after the recession ended in July 2009. Now, notice the tail or the right of the graph, it appears an upward slope, an increase in initial claims, which started to emerge in February.
Below is the 4 week moving average, set to a logarithmic scale to remove even more statistical noise, for the last year. Again, we need the 4 week moving average to stay below 400,000 and keep dropping. Numerous economists say the number is 375,000 to show any job growth. We need this number to keep dropping, steadily.
Below is the 4 week moving average, set to a log scale, from April 1st, 2007. We are nowhere near pre-recession initial weekly unemployment claims levels.
Continuing unemployment claims dropped but bear in mind people can plain being running out of benefits.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 16 was 3,703,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,720,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,721,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,726,250.
In the week ending July 9th, not seasonally adjusted, the raw number was 7,645,601 official people obtaining some sort of unemployment insurance benefit.