New and continuing jobless claims resume decline
Economists view the four-week average as a better indicator of unemployment conditions, as it smooths-out anomalies for strikes, holidays, or other idiosyncratic events.
Economists also monitor the continuing claims stat because it provides a snapshot of how long it's going to take the typical person to find comparable employment once he/she has sustained a job loss. In general, continuing claims above 3 million reflect a slack labor market, and point to extended six-to-nine month (or longer) job searches.
Further, the U.S stock market Thursday will likely interpret the renewed declines in initial jobless claims and continuing claims bullishly. Those declines, combined with a revised 1.0 percent decline in U.S. GDP, provide additional evidence that the U.S. recession is bottoming and that a recovery is underway.
Also, the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending August 8, the latest week for which data is available, were in: Puerto Rico, 7.3 percent; Oregon, 6.1 percent; Pennsylvania, 6.0 percent; Michigan, 5.9 percent; Nevada, 5.8 percent; Wisconsin, 5.5 percent; California, 5.4 percent; Connecticut, 5.4 percent; New Jersey, 5.2 percent; North Carolina, 5.0 percent; and South Carolina, 5.0 percent.
Economic Analysis: Jobless claims resumed trending lower, but the level, 570,000, is still consistent with weak employment conditions. Even so, let's focus on all the positives in the U.S. economy: housing market stabilization, a slowing contraction in manufacturing, re-liquefied credit markets, fiscal stimulus deployment, and real GDP all suggest that the nation's longest recession since the 1930s is bottoming. This also likely means more employers will taper lay-offs, which points to positive U.S. GDP in the third and fourth quarters.