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Weekly claims have been flat this year

As the top chart shows, weekly unemployment claims—abstracting from two periods in which seasonal adjustment factors proved faulty—have been essentially flat all year, averaging 465K, which also happens to be the latest weekly reading. No message here; this is entirely consistent with the sub-par recovery we've had so far.

As the second chart shows, however, the number of persons receiving unemployment compensation insurance is once again declining. In fact, the number has dropped by 1 million since the beginning of August. This could mean that more people are finding jobs, or it could mean that more people are sitting at home discouraged, or probably some of both. I think it's more of the former, and I note (again) in that regard that the household survey of private sector employment has recorded 1.8 million new jobs this year through August.

All this adds up to moderately positive news, consistent with a sub-par recovery. And again, not even a hint of a double-dip recession.

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