Initial Claims Drop to the Lowest Level Since 1969

By Robert Hughes

The latest weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 8,000 to 196,000 for the week ending April 6. That is the lowest level since 1969. The four-week average, calculated to help reduce volatility, fell 7,000 to 207,000. Measured as a percentage of total employment, claims have fallen to an all-time record low of 0.133 percent, well below the lowest point of all previous economic cycles.

After a brief period of modestly rising claims for unemployment insurance from mid-September through early February, claims have now fallen in 7 of the last 10 weeks. While economic data continue to be generally mixed, this is among the most compelling evidence that the recent period of weakness may be passing. While caution is still warranted, the outlook for continued economic expansion is marginally more favorable.

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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes joined AIER in 2013 following more than 25 years in economic and financial markets research on Wall Street. Bob was formerly the head of Global Equity Strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, where he developed equity investment strategy combining top-down macro analysis with bottom-up fundamentals. Prior to BBH, Bob was a Senior Equity Strategist for State Street Global Markets, Senior Economic Strategist with Prudential Equity Group and Senior Economist and Financial Markets Analyst for Citicorp Investment Services. Bob has a MA in economics from Fordham University and a BS in business from Lehigh University.