The four week moving average for Initial Jobless Claims has risen 14,750 over the month of August from 556,500 for the July 31st week to 571,250 for the most recent period of August 28th. Prior to this month the average had seen a steady decline from the April 3rd high of 658,800 to that low on July 31st. Trends are everything in weekly claims and this increase in claims is not that far from the gains seen in all but the worst months of the financial collapse. In September last year the four week moving average added 28,300, in October 2,300, in November 29,500, in December 13,500. The largest additions to the claims average were in January at 53,000 and February 35,300. March added 11,200 and then the average declined every month until August except May which added 7,800. The movement in this average should give the proponents of a vigorous economic recovery pause. Consumer spending is crucial to GDP growth and to the recent equity rally and nothing is more important to consumers than jobs. Economic expansion without job growth will not feel like a recovery at all.
Chief Market Analyst