Political  Calculations

When we last looked at seasonally-adjusted initial unemployment insurance claims (aka "new jobless benefit filings") at the end of August 2011, we found that the average rate of new claims was falling at a level of about 800 per week.

Per the Associated Press:

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, a sign that the job market remains weak.

Weekly applications increased by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The modest gain comes after applications plummeted by 33,000 in the previous week. The drop partly reflected technical difficulties with the department’s seasonal adjustment process.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week to 414,000, its lowest level in a month.

Still, applications are higher than they would be in a healthy economy. They need to fall below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They haven’t been that low since February.

Today, using data that the U.S. Department of Labor  just released, we find that the rate of improvement in U.S. layoff activity has slowed down:

Residual Distribution of Seasonally-Adjusted Initial Unemployment Claim Filings, 26 March 2011 through 1 October 2011

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