Capital Spectator asks whether we have reached a peak in jobless claims:

“This is a critical question because, as we’ve written, initial jobless claims are a valuable forward-looking indicator for estimating when recessions bottom out. In our March 6 piece, we looked at the historical record and found that initial jobless claims peaked concurrently with, or sometimes ahead of the formal end of recessions since the late-1960s.”


Capital Spectator’s conclusion is that its probably premature to conclude a peak yet:

“But while it’s tempting to pronounce the cycle has turned, such thinking is still premature for a number of reasons. That includes the view of some economists that last week’s numbers should be ignored because it came during a holiday week following Easter.”

This Easter question was intriguing to me, so I grabbed the DOL initial jobless claims data and compared it to the weeks beginning after Easter since 1967.  Here’s a print of the data:

Monday after Easter change in claims
27-Mar-1967 -10000
15-Apr-1968 -17000
7-Apr-1969 13000
30-Mar-1970 3000
12-Apr-1971 11000
3-Apr-1972 -7000
23-Apr-1973 -1000
15-Apr-1974 -10000
31-Mar-1975 -22000
19-Apr-1976 -50000
11-Apr-1977 71000
27-Mar-1978 -22000
16-Apr-1979 -25000
7-Apr-1980 52000
20-Apr-1981 -51000
12-Apr-1982 89700
4-Apr-1983 900
23-Apr-1984 -4300
8-Apr-1985 68900
31-Mar-1986 -29800
20-Apr-1987 -39163
4-Apr-1988 -12393
27-Mar-1989 -14743
16-Apr-1990 -56455
1-Apr-1991 -64973
20-Apr-1992 -46327
12-Apr-1993 14777
4-Apr-1994 -3030
17-Apr-1995 -38884
8-Apr-1996 11009
31-Mar-1997 -22640
13-Apr-1998 5530
5-Apr-1999 2699
24-Apr-2000 3048
16-Apr-2001 -50301
1-Apr-2002 19924
21-Apr-2003 -35731
12-Apr-2004 46490
28-Mar-2005 659
17-Apr-2006 -46224
9-Apr-2007 60048
24-Mar-2008 -19319
13-Apr-2009 -53000
Average -6479.05
# negative weeks 26
Tot. wks in sample 43
Fraction negative 0.604

As can be seen, the economists who question whether Easter weeks should be given much consideration may be on to somethingAbout 60% of the weeks after Easter showed reductions in jobless claims with an average reduction of about -6500 jobs.  But, it was a good excuse for the PPT to jump into the market again today…

Update:  The average change in claims for the second week after Easter was +9206.14, with only 20 weeks of the 43 week sample being negative.  Looks like we can reasonable expect a rise in claims next week.

6 Comments on “Jobless claims week after Easter”

  • Seasonal adjustments

    You numbers were the “settled” adjusted numbers for that period?

    I’d like to see your numbers matched against the initial to-be updated numbers

  • See the updated page for this post. The average change in claims for the second week after Easter was +9206.14, with only 20 weeks of the 43 week sample being negative. Looks like we can reasonable expect a rise in claims next week.

  • jg says:

    Fine detective work, sir!

  • [...] An analysis of jobless claims in the week after Easter (Swamp Report) [...]

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