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posted on 07 May 2015

02 May 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Averages Again Marginally Improves. Lowest Level for Initial Claims Since May 2000.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 275,000 to 285,000 (consensus 280,000) 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 283,750 (reported last week as 283,750) to 279,500. 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 13.9% lower (better than the 11.7% 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 May 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 265,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 262,000. The 4-week moving average was 279,500, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 283,750. This is the lowest level for this average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250. 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 25, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 25 was 2,228,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since November 11, 2000 when it was 2,161,000. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 2,253,000 to 2,256,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,271,500, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 9, 2000 when it was 2,266,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 2,290,750 to 2,291,500.

Steven Hansen



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