Unemployment Claims Have Either Increased Or Decreased, Depending Where You Look

Unemployment Claims Have Either Increased Or Decreased, Depending Where You Look

Unemployment claims are on the rise. Again.

It’s likely no shock to anyone that after a two-year low in weekly new unemployment claims (conveniently right around the time for seasonal jobs, commenter ToBoomBoom pointed out), the rate is rising again. The new claims rose from 407,000 to 436,000—but economists aren’t panicking just yet. This week’s inflated number of claims means good things…or so we’re told.

Extended Average Balances Data

Because the weekly numbers were only worth citing as they dropped, economists are now looking to the four-week moving average number of claims to show that our economy is improving. They reason that since the hiring around the Thanksgiving holidays makes the data so volatile, an extended average balances out the numbers and makes them more representative of actual unemployment trends. Isn’t it nice that there’s always a positive number somewhere?

Look To The Holiday Shopping Season

Now that the four-week average is at its own two-year low (take that, weekly numbers!) economists across the board are filled with expectations of a healthy holiday shopping season and all that it implies, and the Grinch-type economists expect little change in the economy and job market, but don’t expect a decline. While 8.9 million people receive some form of unemployment aid, and the unemployment rate holds steady at a festive 9.6%, we’re supposed to be looking to holiday spending for encouragement about our national economy? In that case, things are indeed looking good.

Tell us in the comments: Do you believe that the new numbers are indicative of a healing economy, or just a drop in the bucket?


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