Thursday, July 16, 2009

Strange Claims Data Offer Hope of Recession's End

The Labor Department (DOL) reported that new unemployment claims declined to 522k for the week ended July 11 down 47k from the prior week. These data are well below the 650k peak reported in the Spring. DOL noted that the seasonal adjustment factors could be completely out of whack because major auto lay-offs took place in April and May rather than July thereby rendering the seasonals less than accurate. In fact unadjusted claims actually increased by 86k for the week.

Nevertheless with two weeks of claims below 600k it is quite possible that on a GDP basis the recession might have ended this month. In terms of the labor market the recession is still far from over. Although layoffs might be waning, employers remain on strike with respect to hiring.

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