Will Weekly Jobless Claims Continue to Grow?

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179125086Thursday will mark yet another Labor Department report covering weekly jobless claims. The question we and others will be asking is whether we have seen a cycle peak in jobless claims and in unemployment. In short, will jobless claims continue to rise?

Expectations for jobless claims from Bloomberg are for 305,000. This is within a range offered of 295,000 and 315,000. That projection is also after the initial jobless claims rose by 23,000 in the July 26 week to 302,000. The prior week's report was the lowest reading in jobless claims during the entire business cycle. That was long before the recession of 2008 to 2009.

The four-week average also fell by 3,500 to 297,250 last week, which was also the lowest reading of this current business cycle. What is interesting is that last week's reading ticked back up from the prior week, and it was also a report that covered the period included in the Labor Department's unemployment and payrolls report released last Friday.

Ycharts shows the following trends in recent weeks for weekly jobless claims for 2014:

  • July 26: 302,000
  • July 19: 279,000
  • July 12: 303,000
  • July 5: 305,000
  • June 28: 316,000

What investors and speculators will be looking for in the weekly jobless is if there is a trend after last week's less aggressive payrolls and employment situation from the Labor Department. We saw fewer nonfarm payrolls at 209,000 and fewer private sector payrolls at 198,000 than in the prior two months. We also saw the official unemployment rate tick higher to 6.2% in July from a cycle low of 6.1% in June.

It is not expected that there will be any serious rise in jobless claims. Still, if the claims tick higher again, then some economists may try to issue a signal that the peak in the jobs recovery may have been seen.

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