– by a New Deal Democrat
There has been an almost relentlessly slow increase in new jobless claims over the past few months. That trend has been broken, at least for now.
Initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 243,000. However, the 4-week average rose by 1,500 to 247,000. Continuing claims fell -19,000 from their 4-month peak a week ago to 1,415,000:
Claims trends were almost relentlessly higher until a week ago. They were due to turn higher on a year-over-year basis in November, which would have signaled an impending recession. Now we have at least a pause and possibly (although I think it’s unlikely) a trend reversal.
I mainly attribute this to the effects of lower gas prices loosening the stranglehold on consumer spending, although it may also reflect to some extent the bottoming out of the implosion in crypto-related layoffs.
Shorter version: slow down the recession, for now!