Released on 8/13/2009 8:30:00 AM For wk8/8, 2009
The rate of layoffs is heavy but steady as first-time jobless claims were little changed in the Aug. 8 week, at 558,000 vs. 554,000 in the prior week. The numbers, in a plus, are a little bit below the four-week average, which is at 565,000. Continuing claims fell steeply, down 141,000 for data in the Aug. 1 week to 6.202 million. But the decline is hard to read, reflecting either new hirings and/or the expiration of benefits. The economy may be in recovery or at least is steady but the outlook for the jobs market, and how far it lags, is a serious concern for the economic outlook and for policy makers.
Market Consensus Before AnnouncementInitial jobless claims fell 38,000 to a much better-than-expected level of 550,000. Businesses appear to have made their major cuts in labor costs in earlier weeks and are now trimming fewer jobs. Continuing claims, however, rose 69,000 for the July 25 week to 6.310 million, indicating that it is still hard to get rehired.
DefinitionNew unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smoothes out weekly volatility. Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.