And Calculated Risk helpfully provides the following graph of the four-week moving average of initial claims.In the week ending January 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 367,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 379,000. The 4-week moving average was 375,750, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,750.
The four-week moving average is helpful because the claims tend to bounce around a bit. A couple of weeks ago, we noted that initial claims had fallen to 352,000, which is lower than today's report of 367,000. But the moving average at that time was 379,000, and now its 375,750. As Steve Benen (then at Political Animal) noted at the time:
In terms of metrics, keep in mind, when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.What this means is that if -- if-- we can get a couple more weeks of improving initial unemployment claims we should -- should -- should be entering a virtuous cycle, where the economy's improving performance becomes self-reinforcing.
And now Steve Benen (newly moved to the Maddow Blog) reports that:
Okay, that wasn't helpful, but it is a message that bears repeating.In terms of metrics, keep in mind, when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it's considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.