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Weekly claims improve modestly and slowly

Top chart: seasonally-adjusted weekly claims. Bottom chart: non-seasonally-adjusted claims.

For yet another week, actual first-time claims for unemployment failed to increase as expected by the seasonal adjustment factors. Adjusted claims are now 4% lower (445K) than their year-to-date average (464K). The economy is not shedding jobs as it has in the past around this time of the year.

This next chart uses non-seasonally-adjusted figures in order to show exactly how many people are receiving unemployment benefits. The total continues to be boosted significantly by Congress' willingness to extend benefits up to two years via "emergency" claims.

Taken together, we see a picture of slow, and very modest improvement in the jobs market.

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