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posted on 13 August 2015

08 August 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves Marginally

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 260,000 to 272,000 (consensus 270,000) vs the 274,000 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 268,000 (reported last week as 268,250) to 266,250. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.

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 9.9% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014.

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 August 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 270,000 to 269,000. The 4-week moving average was 266,250, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2000 when it was 266,250. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 268,250 to 268,000. 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 August 1, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 1 was 2,273,000, an increase of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 2,255,000 to 2,258,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,254,250, an increase of 14,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 2,239,000 to 2,240,000.

Steven Hansen



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