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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today, the BLS released its latest, "Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report."  Seasonally adjusted initial claims decreased 3,000 from the previous week to 459,000, but the four week average of initial claims increased 2,500 to 463,000.  Combined with the decline in unemployment from 9.9% to 9.7% in May, paint a picture consistent with a slow recovery. I thought that I would use the release of the weekly data to update a few graphs.

In three graphs, I compare the four week moving average of initial unemployment rate of the current recession to the three previous recessions.  The data starts six weeks before the beginning of each recession and continues for nearly three years.  The left vertical axis measures the four week moving average of initial unemployment claims and the right vertical axis measures the unemployment rate.  These two measures provide evidence that the current recession is severe in comparison to other recessions over the last thirty years.  The small improvements in the two statistics combined with moderate growth add some hope for further improvement in the economy. 

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