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Weekly claims continue to improve

First time claims for unemployment plunged last week on a seasonally adjusted basis. The data had been hinting at some significant underlying improvement for the past several weeks, and now it is confirmed. Of course, the drop in claims doesn't mean that businesses are hiring; rather, it means that they are not firing as many people as they ordinarily would be at this time of the year. The next chart, which shows the actual, non-adjusted claims, makes that clear. For the past five years claims have always been on the rise in November, but they have hardly risen at all this year. Regardless, I think it's fair to say that conditions in the labor market are definitely improving.

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