The headlines are trumpeting that jobless claims fell under 500,000 for the first time in a long long time.

That's great! Until you look at the actual release:

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm



UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DATA FOR REGULAR STATE PROGRAMS






Advance











Prior1


WEEK ENDING


Nov. 21


Nov. 14


Change


Nov. 7


Year






Initial Claims (SA)


466,000


501,000


-35,000


505,000


520,000


Initial Claims (NSA)


543,926


475,846


+68,080


531,743


609,138


4-Wk Moving Average (SA)


496,500


513,000


-16,500


520,500


512,500






Advance











Prior1


WEEK ENDING


Nov. 14


Nov. 7


Change


Oct. 31


Year


The good news is it is slightly better than last year this time - though note that this is UI claims, not unemployment per se.

The bad news is that a 4 week moving average of 496,500 vs. 512,500 of 1 year before, or 543746 vs. 475846 of a week before - none of these comparisons are quite as panglossian.

Then we see further down:













Prior1



WEEK ENDING


Nov. 7



Oct. 31



Change



Year







Federal Employees


22,941


24,903


-1,962


14,827


Newly Discharged Veterans


34,598


34,899


-301


23,317


Railroad Retirement Board


10,000


10,000


0


3,000


Extended Benefits


539,531


574,155


-34,624


19,650


EUC 20083


3,639,036


3,622,666


+16,370


766,565


EUC numbers still going up. EUC numbers vs. 1 year ago: nearly 3M more though of course EUC benefits weren't as common then.

Then again the Extended Unemployment Benefits bill was passed in June 2008:

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h5749/show