Weekly jobless claims were released today, showing a decrease of 14,000 from last week, while the four-week moving average moved up by 2,250 to 454,250 claims (see chart above). After a significant decline of almost 200,000 claims from about 650,000 in April 2009 to close to 450,000 weekly claims by early this year, the decline in weekly claims has slowed quite a bit in recent months, levelling out at about 450,000. But that recent levelling and chopiness shouldn’t create too much concern, since that pattern of jobless claims is to be expected in the first year or two following a recession.
For example, notice the pattern of jobless claims (4-week moving average) in the graphs below following the 1990-1991 recession and the 2001 recession. Both post-recession periods expereienced sharp declines in the early stages of recovery, followed by long periods of flattening and even some periods of upticks: