I’ve posted about this before, the fact that the reported weekly jobless claims numbers are not adjusted for the size of the labor force. For the month of February, weekly initial unemployment claims averaged 627,875. As a percent of the civilian labor force, those jobless claims represent 0.4071% of the 154.214 million labor force.
The chart above shows the “initial jobless claims as a percent of the labor force” back to January 1980. To reach the same level as the peak in 1982 of 0.6067%, today’s jobless claims would have to be almost 936,000, or almost 50% higher than the current 628,000.