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Labor Market Indicators

New Deal Democrate writes:

The Bonddad Blog: Getting it wrong about Initial Jobless Claims and Nonfarm Payrolls: Some time ago, Prof. Brad DeLong of Berkeley, thinking aloud with graph, drew a line across the 1991 and 2001 recessions and recoveries, making a "note to self" that it appeared that Initial Jobless Claims post those recessions had to decline to 400,000 or less before payroll jobs were added....

IT IS WRONG.

The 1991 and 2001 recessions were very mild. Peak initial jobless claims in those recessions were 501,250 and 489,250, respectively. It would be nuts to think that jobs would be added to the economy anywhere near the 500,000 high water mark in jobless claims from those recessions.

The 1973-4 and 1981-2 recessions are much better comparisons. They were the two most severe post-WW2 recessions up until now, respectively featuring 9% and 10%+ unemployment. Furthermore, peak initial jobless claims in those recessions were 560,750 on February 1, 1975 and 674,250 on October 9, 1982, respectively; both peaks being much closer to our recession's peak initial claims number of 658,750 on April 4, 2009. In the case of the recoveries from both of those recessions, payrolls started to grow as the ievel of initial jobless claims crossed 500,000, not 400,000...

My guess was that 1975 and 1982 were a long time ago, and that the structure of the economy has changed a lot since then.

But he could be right. We will see.

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