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posted on 29 January 2015

24 January 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Significantly Falls

Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 280,000 to 310,000 (consensus 300,000) vs the 265,000 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 306,750 (reported last week as 306,500) to 298,500. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for the 19 of the previous 20 weeks.

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 10.4% lower (better than the 7.8% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).

Claim levels remain 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 January 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 265,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 307,000 to 308,000. The 4-week moving average was 298,500, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 306,500 to 306,750. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8 percent for the week ending January 17, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 17 was 2,385,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 13,000 from 2,443,000 to 2,456,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,438,500, an increase of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 3,250 from 2,427,000 to 2,430,250.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line). 2015 (violet line)

Steven Hansen

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