The jobless-claims trend is our friend, but it’s an awfully slow-moving friend

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The weekly unemployment-insurance claims numbers are out, and the number of new claims—a seasonally adjusted 521,000—was the lowest since January. (Claims peaked in late March, at 674,000.) The four-week moving average, at 539,750, continues to trend downward as well. Good news. But man, what a slow trend! It’s like watching paint dry. Especially slow-drying paint.

Claims are still in deep-recession territory, and much higher than they were at any point last year. So is this a jobless recovery, or a labor market so bad it may take the economy back down with it again? I’m still going with the former, but that could just be because I’m congenitally optimistic.