- by New Deal democrat I’ve been monitoring initial jobless claims closely for the past several months, to see if there are any signs of stress. This is because the long leading indicators were negative one year ago, and many - but not a majority - of the short leading indicators have recently turned negative as well. So I am on “recession watch.” But no recession is going to begin unless and until layoffs increase. To reiterate, my two thresholds are:1. If the four week average on claims is more than 10% above its expansion low.2. If the YoY% change in the monthly average turns higher.This week the second measure turned negative. Let’s take a look. Initial jobless claims last week were 217,000. This is in the lower part of its range of 220,000 +/-12,000 for the past 19 months.
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