The unemployment rate in December 2008 was 7.2%. We heard that initial claims for unemployment were greater than expected last week.
What does this mean?
As usual, it is difficult to navigate the data. We were told there were 589,000 initial claims in the week ending January 17. This was 82% higher than the comparable week last year.
What’s worse is that these are not real numbers — they are seasonally adjusted. The unadjusted number is 769,000 which is down from the disasterous 957,000 in the previous week. Yes, that’s correct. In the past two weeks, 1.7 million people made an initial claim for unemployment insurance.
This bad news was not reported in the press.
In this video blog shot on January 22, 2009, I analyze the outlook for unemployment.