Initial Jobless Claims Edge Up for Second Consecutive Week - Its Not Unusual

By: Paul Kasriel | Thu, Aug 20, 2009
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Initial jobless claims, a relatively good short-term economic leading indicator that is not subject to large and frequent revisions, have increased for two consecutive weeks (see Chart 1). Should we call off the economic recovery? In nearshore sailing on Lake Michigan, my mates and I practice the "ten minute rule." That is, if the wind velocity changes such that it might be advisable to put a reef into or shake one out of a sail, we wait ten minutes before putting down our beer. If conditions have not changed or moved more in the direction that got our attention in the first place, then we get busy. Perhaps it is advisable to practice the ten week rule when it comes to initial jobless claims. Although they get only lightly revised and are only subject to revision within four weeks of their first release, revisions do occur. Moreover, weekly seasonal adjustment factors are flukier than the winds on Lake Michigan. So, let's not "reef" our economic recovery call just yet.

Chart 1

History suggests that it is not unusual to see some upward short-term blips in initial claims near the end of a recession our early in the recovery. Examples of these short-term reversals can be seen in Charts 2 through 6.

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Chart 6

So, keep the recovery faith. This always was going to be a three-steps-forward, two-steps-backwards kind of recovery.



Paul Kasriel

Author: Paul Kasriel

Paul L. Kasriel
Director of Economic Research
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department
Positive Economic Commentary
"The economics of what is, rather than what you might like it to be."
50 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60675

Paul Kasriel

Paul joined the economic research unit of The Northern Trust Company in 1986 as Vice President and Economist, being named Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research in 2000. His economic and interest rate forecasts are used both internally and by clients. The accuracy of the Economic Research Department's forecasts has consistently been highly-ranked in the Blue Chip survey of about 50 forecasters over the years. To that point, Paul received the prestigious 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip survey participants for the years 2002 through 2005. The accuracy of Paul's 2008 economic forecast was ranked in the top five of The Wall Street Journal survey panel of economists. In January 2009, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes cited Paul as one of the few who identified early on the formation of the housing bubble and foresaw the economic and financial market havoc that would ensue after the bubble inevitably burst. Through written commentaries containing his straightforward and often nonconsensus analysis of economic and financial market issues, Paul has developed a loyal following in the financial community. The Northern's economic website was listed as one of the top ten most interesting by The Wall Street Journal. Paul is the co-author of a book entitled Seven Indicators That Move Markets.

Paul began his career as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He has taught courses in finance at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Paul serves on the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The information herein is based on sources which The Northern Trust Company believes to be reliable, but we cannot warrant its accuracy or completeness. Such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

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