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posted on 30 April 2015

25 April 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Averages Marginally Improves. Lowest Level for Initial Claims Since April 2000.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 228,000 to 295,000 (consensus 288,000) vs the 262,000 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 285,000 (reported last week as 284,500) to 283,750. 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 11.0% 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 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 262,000, a decrease of 34,000 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 295,000 to 296,000. The 4-week moving average was 283,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 284,500 to 285,000. 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 18, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 18 was 2,253,000, a decrease of 74,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 2, 2000 when it was 2,229,000. The previous week's level was revised up 2,000 from 2,325,000 to 2,327,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,290,750, a decrease of 18,500 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 500 from 2,308,750 to 2,309,250.

Steven Hansen



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