November 13, 2003

Neutral Labor Market News

This morning's unemployment claims number:

Jobless claims rise to 366,000 in latest week - Nov. 13, 2003: The Labor Department said 366,000 people filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended Nov. 8, compared with a revised reading of 353,000 in the prior week. Economists, on average, expected 364,000 new claims, according to

In the 1990s, such an unemployment claims number was consistent with a stable unemployment rate: an unemployment rate that was neither rising nor falling.

Posted by DeLong at November 13, 2003 08:08 AM | TrackBack


I'll admit, one of the most difficult things about watching the unemployment situation is trying to keep track of the constantly changing numbers and how people group those numbers.

But anyway, I wonder if this trend will continue.

Posted by: Brian on November 13, 2003 09:27 AM


Last week's figure revised upwards by 5000. It's now hard to avoid the feeling that preliminary numbers should always be expected to be underestimated by 5000-6000 :(

Posted by: Mats on November 13, 2003 09:33 AM


I noticed that too, Mats. Does this mean that next week this week's figure for initial jobless claims will be revised upward to 371,000 from 366,000. Inquiring minds want to know.

If the initial estimate is always off by about the same amount, shouldn't they consider changing the estimating procedure? Assuming, of course, that the goal is to produce accurate estimates. And that is a big assumption with this administration.

Posted by: Kosh on November 13, 2003 10:06 AM


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