August 30, 2018

Initial Unemployment Claims: A 49-Year Low Which Is Really an All-Time Low

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:36 pm

I initially thought that a genuinely strong economy would need to have more upheaval — and thus, more short-term layoffs — to get fully on track.

It appears I was wrong about that, partially because people who are getting laid off are finding their next job fairly quickly, and partially because employers aren’t feeling the need to change a lot of staff members to become more productive.

In any event, today’s unemployment claims report from the Department of Labor marks a new historic low:

In the week ending August 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 213,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 210,000. The 4-week moving average was 212,250, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 213,750. This is the lowest level for this average since December 13, 1969 when it was 210,750.

But in 1969, covered employment — the number of workers eligible for unemployment benefits if laid off — was about 60 percent lower than it is now.

Since the covered workforce continues to grow (even though DOL only adjusts their own reported figure quarterly), this means that the 4-week seasonally adjusted average of initial claims reported today is the lowest on record as a percentage of the covered workforce since DOL began reporting weekly claims in the mid-1960s.

I “blame” Trump and the GOP-majority Congress which passed last year’s tax law.


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