In a post last week, I commented that Mark Zandi is one of the most astute economists in the nation, especially when it comes to predictive ability. In that post, Zandi pointed out that one of the most useful statistics available to all of us is the weekly employment level.
In the post I supplied my readers with Zandi's interpretation of the statistics, making it possible for everyone to understand what's going on in the job market. Once again, here's his explanation: Only when claims head down to 400,000 will the economy be creating enough jobs to maintain stable unemployment. Closer to 350,000 will lower the unemployment rate and mean that the recovery is evolving into an expansion. When we get to initial weekly unemployment claims of 300,000, boom times are back.
Last Thursday, the jobless claim figure was at 450,000. Today's report looked even better for claims: 432,000.
Be aware that the jobless trends are more difficult to read during the holidays, because of seasonally adjusted employment. Still, the figures point to better days ahead, though a quite slow recovery.