17 November 2012 Unemployment Claims: 4 Week Average Jumps Over 2011 Levels

November 21st, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting 423,000 to 435,000 vs the 410,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is up from 383,750 to 396,250. The big increase this week was again due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The four week average is the highest seen in 2012 - and higher than any other reading since October 2011.

Follow up:




State Supplied Comment




Increase in initial claims due to Hurricane Sandy. These separations were primarily in the construction, food service, and transportation industries.




Increase in initial claims due to Hurricane Sandy. These separation were primarily in the accommodation and food services, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, administrative service, healthcare and social assistance,construction, retail, professional, trade, educational service, and public administration industries.




Increase in the service industry.




Increase in initial claims due to Hurricane Sandy. These separations were primarily in the construction and transportation industries.




Increase in initial claims due to Hurricane Sandy.

It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is some seasonality which seems to have migrated into the seasonally adjusted data - specifically there is a decline in unemployment in the last third of the year (see bottom graph below). The average year-over-year decline in the initial unemployment claims to date is 9.3%. However, the 4 week average of year-over-year decline is now minus 1.0% showing that the trend on initial unemployment claims is worsening.

This is the highest 4 week moving average claims in over one year.

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending November 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 410,000, a decrease of 41,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 451,000. The 4-week moving average was 396,250, an increase of 9,500 from the previous week's revised average of 386,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending November 10, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 10 was 3,337,000, a decrease of 30,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,367,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,285,000, an increase of 19,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,265,500

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)

Steven Hansen

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