In the week ending Oct. 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 434,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 455,000. The 4-week moving average was 453,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 458,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5 percent for the week ending Oct. 16, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 3.6 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Oct. 16 was 4,356,000, a decrease of 122,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,478,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,447,250, a decrease of 38,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,485,750.
These are the last weekly claims figures to be released prior to next week’s midterm election. New applications for unemployment compensation have been stuck in a range between 450,000 and 475,000 for months, now.
Half of last week’s decrease of 23,000 new claims was accounted for by an upward revision in the previous week’s data and the moving average remains stubbornly stuck above 450,000.
While there is nothing particularly rosy or damaging in this week’s data, it still highlights a very weak job market and an economy struggling to keep its head above water. We should get confirmation of the sluggish economy with tomorrow’s estimate of Q3 GDP growth. Analysts expect something on the order of 1.5% to 2.0% annual growth.
It’s in this setting that voters will go to polls next week and issue a referendum on the efficacy of President Obama’s economic policies.