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posted on 01 October 2015

26 September 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves Insignificantly

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 270 K to 278 K (consensus 272,000) vs the 277,000 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 271,750 (reported last week as 271,750) to 270,750. 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 8.6 % lower (marginally worse than the 9.3 % 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 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 267,000. The 4-week moving average was 270,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 271,750. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending September 19, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 19 was 2,191,000, a decrease of 53,000 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 2,000 from 2,242,000 to 2,244,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,235,250, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 2,251,750 to 2,252,250.

Steven Hansen

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