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Claims continue to slowly improve




If we ignore the outlier drop in claims last July—which occurred because factory layoffs weren't as large as the seasonal adjustment factors expected—then the most recent claims number marks a new low for the year. The reason? For the past few weeks, actual claims have not risen as is typical for this time of the year. A few more weeks of this and we would see a notable decline in the seasonally adjusted number, and that would be bullish for the economy's prospects.


Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits continues to decline—down by 4 million since the peak early this year. That is big news. Undoubtedly, some of those who have fallen off the dole have found work, while others are increasingly desperate. The combination of those two factors adds up to more people working and more people who are more motivated to find a job. Borrowing from commenter "brodero," I note that Gallup's Job Creation Index has moved to a new, post-recession high. Taken together, it must be the case that the economy continues to improve, albeit slowly.

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