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posted on 16 April 2015

11 April 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Averages Little Changed

Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 275,000 to 290,000 (consensus 280,000) vs the 294,000 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 285,500 (reported last week as 282,250) to 282,750. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for most of the last 6 months.

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 10.5% lower (worse than the 11.7% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014 (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 April 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 294,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 281,000 to 282,000. The 4-week moving average was 282,750, an increase of 250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 282,250 to 282,500. 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 April 4, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 4 was 2,268,000, a decrease of 40,000 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 4,000 from 2,304,000 to 2,308,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,329,000, a decrease of 32,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 30, 2000 when it was 2,325,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 2,360,750 to 2,361,750.

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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