Continuing Claims->UE Rate->FF Rate

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Karim writes:

The chart attached shows the last 3 cycles in continuing claims, the unemployment rate and the FF rate.

Continuing claims is a coincident to leading indicator of the unemployment rate. Its interesting that in the last two cycles, continuing claims made what appears to be a double top before the unemployment rate peaked. In those cycles, the lag between the peak in the unemployment rate and the first Fed rate hike was 12mths (June 2003-June 2004) and 19mths (July 1992-Feb 2004).

While this cycle is notably different than the others in many respects (size and speed of economic deterioration as well as policy response), look for the Fed to make some reference (implicit or explicit) to the unemployment rate coming down in a sustainable fashion before tightening policy. Based on history, even if this month was the peak in the unemployment rate, the first hike seems unlikely until mid-2010. Based on likely further deterioration in the ue rate, first hike unlikely before 2011.