Weekly jobless claims dip below supposedly significant 400,000 level

posted at 10:30 am on July 28, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Not sure what accounts for this (and the Labor Department offers no specific explanation either), but a 15-week streak of 400,000+ weekly jobless claims ended last week.

Claims dropped to 398,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 422,000, according to figures released today by the Department of Labor.

Economists consider 400,000 to be a crucial number — the number below which jobless claims need to drop to make a difference in the unemployment rate or to achieve stability in the labor market. But, as Ed has explained in the past, that’s somewhat of a myth:

Take a look at the historical series of weekly claims between December 2005 and December 2007, the last time we really had “stability” in the labor force.  The highest number in that period was 355,000 in a week, and that was in December 2007 when the economy slid into recession. In fact, between January 2004 and January 2008, we had only two weeks of 400K-level weekly claims, both in September 2005, and they were very much the exception. The average for that four-year span is 326,735, and the median number is 324,000 — which is why I usually use the 325K number in my analyses.   We actually didn’t get to the 400K level until July 2008, at which point no one considered the labor market “stable.”

So, we still have a long way to go. Still, it seems like a hopeful sign to me that the four-week moving average also declined to 413,750, a decrease of 8,500. Even if it’s only for this week, I’ll rejoice in the lower figures and even call ‘em “unexpected,” even if that does mean Ed might accuse me of sounding like Reuters.


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I say that is impossible…

Oh, and “They LIE”

golfmann on July 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Not sure what accounts for this (and the Labor Department offers no specific explanation either), but a 15-week streak of 400,000+ weekly jobless claims ended last week.

It’s easy. The Secretary of Labor is a liberal, and gaming the numbers, to boost Obama, so she doesn’t end up being one of those numbers on the unemployment line.

capejasmine on July 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I don’t believe it…

OmahaConservative on July 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

They just haven’t revised the numbers yet. That’s next week.

obladioblada on July 28, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I question the timing…..

rockmom on July 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

They’ve just stopped counting and are now just estimating. Or they are no longer counting those that are non-union

ConservativePartyNow on July 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Of course, once the weekly upward revision comes in, it won’t be below 400K.

There is a bit more analysis in the Green Room </promotion_self_shameless>, including how the expectely “unexpected” should have been expected.

Steve Eggleston on July 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM

…even if that does mean Ed might accuse me of sounding like Reuters.

He’ll probably give you a pass since you included a pic of his favorite unemployed redhead.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM

McDonald’s is hiring

Trafalgar on July 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

What accounts for it?

Same thing every summer…picking season.

Limerick on July 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

When does the revised number come out?

Vashta.Nerada on July 28, 2011 at 10:38 AM

And after all the fanfare and backslapping by the President, next month, on a late Friday evening news dump, it will be released that the numbers were “corrected” to 407,000 and no one will be the wiser.

Mo_mac on July 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Not sure what accounts for this

It must be all this good weather!

Abby Adams on July 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM

McDonald’s is hiring

Trafalgar on July 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Apple slicers.

Brat on July 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Not sure what accounts for this

NFL lockout is over?

ConservativePartyNow on July 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I smell books being cooked….in a time honored CHICAGO fashion……

SDarchitect on July 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM

So last week’s number was revised up from 418,000 to 422,000. Who wants to be their lunch money that this week’s claims get revised up above 400,000 by the time next week’s announcement comes along?

forest on July 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

The revised numbers a week or two from now will send it back over 400k. Probably something like 410k. The initial numbers are always low in this administration.

NotCoach on July 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Happy days are here again///

IlikedAUH2O on July 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Instead of 400k the number is 398k.

Happy days are here again, the skies are clear…blah blah yackety blah.

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Wait for the GDP # tomorrow.

And the July jobs report next Fri.

Do you think anyone hired this month?

Can’t wait.

artist on July 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Thank you Wisconsin and Texas.

Good Lt on July 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

forest on July 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Jinx! I like Coca Cola.

NotCoach on July 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

More fuzzy math.

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Yeah, this number is only more incorrect, inaccurrate and FAKE than every week for the past several months.

Taken at face value ANOTHER 398,000 people LOST THEIR JOBS.

Yet bloomberg, reuters and the AP are trying to trumpet this as good news. This is getting to OMG stupid ridiculous levels.

dogsoldier on July 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Obama will save us

faraway on July 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Does this count all of the jobs lost by Borders closing? How many banks failed during this time period? How much money did the Federal Government waste?

How much money did The One raise, I haven’t heard that reported in quite a few days. I think they a still just guessing.

jackal40 on July 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. What’s that smell?

Naturally Curly on July 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM

So basically over the last 15 weeks more than 6 million people have lost their jobs.

That’s a record only a socialist would be proud of!

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Boehner bill vote after markets close…

artist on July 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Fiona is back!!

Dingbat63 on July 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Some of them find new jobs, but you put your finger on the problem. Unemployment aggregates over time since many of teh folks who get laid off do not find a new job on average for over six months now and many dont find work for over 99 weeks.

Because there are no jobs.

All the folks that can produce products are not because sales dropped like a rock, because people stopped buying,

Because there are no jobs.

dogsoldier on July 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Naturally Curly on July 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM

And spiders, especially Texas spiders.

Bishop on July 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Perhaps the reason the new jobless figure is “so low” is because there are fewer employed people to lose jobs.

duggersd on July 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Next week, it will be revised upwards to more than 420,000

txdoc on July 28, 2011 at 11:07 AM

That represents one-half of one percent under the target that the “experts” deem important.

What if you were burned to within one-half of one percent of being killed, would you have the same reaction?

turfmann on July 28, 2011 at 11:07 AM

So basically over the last 15 weeks more than 6 million people have lost their jobs.

That’s a record only a socialist would be proud of!

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Are those 6 million unemployed more or less likely to vote for little Bammie? That’s all he cares about.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Distractor. A fudged one at that.

RDE2010 on July 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Tina Korbe asked:

Good news?

Yes and no. The big dark cloud on the horizon is rising oil and gas prices, which is what was behind the upward shift we saw in these figures back in April and May 2011.

ironman on July 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Instead of 400k the number is 398k.

Yea, it’s kinda like being at Wal-mart and seeing that 5.98 “rollback” price when really you end up paying the six dollars.

“But it looks lower.”

RDE2010 on July 28, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Must be because of more Obama Waivers.

More waivers!

Electrongod on July 28, 2011 at 11:17 AM

To heck with the Russians. The apology tour is over. When are they going to apologize for tens of millions murdered by Stalin and the creation of communist buffer states after WWII? And, I am still waiting for free and fair elections in Russia. Not the farce that currently exists.

SC.Charlie on July 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Oops, wrong thread.

SC.Charlie on July 28, 2011 at 11:21 AM

dogsoldier on July 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Agreed. I’ve been out of work since 2008 because we moved to Florida on military orders. I’ve applied for several jobs only to find out that I was one of 200 applicants. That complied with the fact that Florida is a “welfare to work” state I have not found anything. It’s crazy.

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 11:23 AM

I think it has to get to 350k to tread water and below that for expansion. We’re still far from that.

IR-MN on July 28, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I think it has to get to 350k to tread water and below that for expansion. We’re still far from that.

IR-MN on July 28, 2011 at 11:26 AM

If memory serves, I believe you’re right in the historic sense. One recent article (I wish I could remember who had it) even said that it needs to get under 300K for a serious expansion.

The 400K is a Reuters-specific number. The Associated Press has pegged the “break-even” point at 375K as of late. Given population growth, I think the actual 2011 number is probably somewhere around 360K.

Steve Eggleston on July 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

So basically over the last 15 weeks more than 6 million people have lost their jobs.

That’s a record only a socialist would be proud of!

milwife88 on July 28, 2011 at 10:50 AM

There’s a certain amount of “churn” as seasonal employees bounce between work and joblesness. This number reflects only the jobless half of that.

Steve Eggleston on July 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Claims dropped to 398,000

As Eggleston writes in the post above, is there really any reason to belive these numbers are accurate?

Is it going to end up being under 400K once the almost-inevitable upward revision happens? The trend is not Obama’s friend here – Tom Blumer has been charting the upward revisions of late, and through the prior 19 weeks, the average upward revision from the initial numbers has been just over 4K. Only 2 of those 19 weeks saw revisions of less than 2K.

Any bets on what the revisions will be? Maybe Nancy Pelosi’s got some insight “away from the fog and controversy”. The reality is, this nation’s unemployment is over 15% and rising. Bragging about only 398K filing is a travesty.

Rovin on July 28, 2011 at 11:42 AM

At this rate the economy will recover in HOW MANY YEARS?

GarandFan on July 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM

At this rate the economy will recover in HOW MANY YEARS?

GarandFan on July 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Infinite.

Steve Eggleston on July 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Hey GarandFan, The economy will UNEXPECTEDLY recover in the 3rd year of the reign of Obama the 17th!

bigmike on July 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Statistical noise.

karl9000 on July 28, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Just wait until it is quietly revised upward (are they ever revised downward?) to 405,000 in a week.

Theophile on July 29, 2011 at 3:51 AM

t a 15-week streak of 400,000+ weekly jobless claims ended last week.

because unemployment ran out for them. After that you cant claim. So not claiming unemployment doesnt mean they are employed. I know, im one of them.

Greed on July 29, 2011 at 1:37 PM