Unemployment and the 9-handle

May 21, 2009

The government’s nastier stress test scenario looked for U.S. unemployment to rise to 10.3 percent. Today’s weekly jobless claims report (631,000) is another indication that we are well on our way to that level. As the econ team at JPMorgan sees things:

Although payroll declines may be easing, continuing jobless claims
indicate that the unemployment rate is still rapidly increasing.
Continuing claims increased 75,000 in the week ending May 9 to 6.662
million, and the insured unemployment rate rose to 5.0% from 4.9%. The
insured unemployment rate has increased a tenth of a percent in every
week since the April household survey week. Given this pattern, the
normal unemployment rate will probably rise from 8.9% in April to at
least 9.2% in May.

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