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posted on 03 September 2015

29 August 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Again Degrades Marginally

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 268,000 to 278,000 (consensus 273,000) vs the 282,000 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 272,250 (reported last week as 272,500) to 275,500. 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 9.2 % lower (marginally worse than the 9.6 % 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 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 282,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 271,000 to 270,000. The 4-week moving average was 275,500, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 272,500 to 272,250. 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 August 22, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 22 was 2,257,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 3,000 from 2,269,000 to 2,266,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,264,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 750 from 2,265,250 to 2,264,500.

Steven Hansen



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