Political  Calculations

Previously, we advanced two possible hypotheses that might explain what is currently happening with the number of seasonally-adjusted initial unemployment insurance claim applications being filed in the U.S. each week:

  1. The number of new jobless claims filed each week is in the process of leveling out somewhere between 370,000 and 380,000, which is about 60,000-70,000 higher than the typical levels that were recorded before the December 2007 recession began.
  2. Rising oil and gasoline prices in the U.S. have derailed the most recent falling trend in new jobless claims, and a new, negative trend has begun where the number of claims filed each week is rising.

In that post, we indicated that we might not know which hypothesis was correct until sometime this summer. But that was before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its initial estimate of the number of new jobless benefit claim filings on Thursday, 26 April 2012. Now, it is very possible we might know the answer as early as this upcoming Thursday, 3 May 2012.

We've updated both charts showing our two hypotheses to incorporate the data as it stands as of the BLS' 26 April 2012 report. The first chart illustrates our first hypothesis:

Residual Distribution for Seasonally-Adjusted Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims, 26 March 2011 - 21 April 2012

In this chart, we would seem to be realizing our first hypothesis, in that the indicated trend, which we've identified as Trend I, is in the process of flatlining.

Political Calculations

Political Calculations is a site that develops, applies and presents both established and cutting edge theory to the topics of investing, business and economics.

Be the first to read Political Calculation's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.


Get the best of Townhall Finance Daily delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Townhall Finance!