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posted on 15 October 2015

10 October 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average At Lowest Level Since December 1973

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market (from Bloomberg) was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 252 K to 275 K (consensus 270,000) vs the 255,000 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 267,250 (reported last week as 267,500) to 265,000. 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 7.8 % lower (marginally worse than the 8.2 % 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 are at 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 October 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 255,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 263,000 to 262,000. The 4-week moving average was 265,000, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 15, 1973 when it was 256,750. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 267,500 to 267,250. 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 October 3, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 3 was 2,158,000, a decrease of 50,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since November 4, 2000 when it was 2,110,000. The previous week's level was revised up 4,000 from 2,204,000 to 2,208,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,201,250, a decrease of 21,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since November 18, 2000 when it was 2,169,000. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 2,221,500 to 2,222,500.

Steven Hansen



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