Jobless Claims Now Appear To Be Trending Down For Real

Claims for unemployment benefits from the newly-unemployed hit just 368,000 last week, a decrease of 20,000 from the prior week’s revised figure of 388,000, the Labor Department reported today.

Despite a large amount of volatility in the jobless claims numbers over the past few weeks, claims do appear to be showing a downward trend, as the following chart shows:

Not to say the picture is anywhere near rosy, of course. For the week ended February 12, 9.2 million people were receiving unemployment benefits, including 3.6 million (down from over 5 million the previous year) on long-term benefits, for those who had exhausted their regular state programs.