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:
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:
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.
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