A Critical Jobs Number Is Coming Up Tomorrow

Tomorrow we get the latest instalment of weekly initial jobless claims.

This number has been elevated lately, and a rising level of claims portends bad news for the economy and the stock market.

Here’s how things look since the beginning of 2011.

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However, it’s not 100% clear that things are getting worse. As Nomura points out, there was a similar blip up last year around this time, so it could be a seasonality thing.

One way to defend Nomura’s claim is by looking at the YOY improvement claims. It turns out, things haven’t gotten much worse by that measure.

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So this is what we’ll be watching. Is the rate of annual improvement staying roughly in line. If so, that’s good. If we get a weakening, and it looks like our annual gains are dissipating, then that’s a bad sign.

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