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posted on 17 September 2015

12 September 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 270,000 to 280,000 (consensus 275,000) vs the 264,000 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 275,750 (reported last week as 275,750) to 272,500. 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 better than the 9.1 % 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 September 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 264,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 275,000. The 4-week moving average was 272,500, a decrease of 3,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 275,750. 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 September 5, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 5 was 2,237,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 2,260,000 to 2,263,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,256,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 2,260,250 to 2,261,000.

Steven Hansen



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