21 November 2014 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Worsens. We Have Been Spoiled Expecting Claims Under 300,000
Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 278,000 to 295,000 (consensus 286,000) vs the 313,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 287,750 (reported last week as 287,500) to 294,000. Rolling averages under 300,000 are excellent.
It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is always some seasonality which migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons helps remove some seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 11.7% lower (worse than the 15.3% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).
2014 claim levels are now near 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion - see chart below).
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending November 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 313,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 291,000 to 292,000. The 4-week moving average was 294,000, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 287,500 to 287,750. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.7 percent for the week ending November 15, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 15 was 2,316,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 9, 2000 when it was 2,263,000. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 2,330,000 to 2,333,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,352,000, a decrease of 17,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 6, 2001 when it was 2,349,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 2,369,000 to 2,369,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)