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December 16, 2010

Initial Unemployment Claims - the Trend Continues

The Department of Labor released the initial unemployment claims data this morning. You all may recall a couple of months ago when I noted that we were seeing a sudden, dramatic shift in the behavior of initial unemployment claims. From Nov '09 through July '10 they showed no improvement at all, but in mid-August something changed. And ever since then it's continued on a new course. Here's what I mean (click on the graph for the legible version):


As you can see, through most of 2009 the rate was falling at a fine pace, suggesting that we'd see a drop in the unemployment rate by June 2010. But in November '09 the descent slowed to a crawl, suggesting in turn that we wouldn't see a drop in the unemployment rate for more than a decade.

Then, thankfully, something kicked the claims rate back onto its original glide path, and improvement resumed. My theory, as I shared with you last month, was that the catalyst for this improvement was industry's response to the news that the GOP was likely to take control of the House. I'm willing to entertain other theories, but the timing is awfully good for mine.

In any case, take heart, for industry is showing signs of life. The financial and real estate pictures are not so rosy, but at least industry is starting to get back on its feet.

Now that it's got some stable ground to stand on.

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posted by Geoff at 04:12 PM

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