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posted on 23 April 2015

18 April 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Averages Marginally Worsens

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 280,000 to 305,000 (consensus 286,000) vs the 295,000 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 282,750 (reported last week as 282,750) to 284,500. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for most of the last 7 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 11.0% lower (better than the 10.5% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014 (see chart below).

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

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 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 295,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 294,000. The 4-week moving average was 284,500, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 282,750. 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 April 11, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 11 was 2,325,000, an increase of 50,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 7,000 from 2,268,000 to 2,275,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,308,750, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 23, 2000 when it was 2,288,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,750 from 2,329,000 to 2,330,750.

Steven Hansen



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