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posted on 14 April 2016

09 April 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves. The Longest Streak Of Claims Under 300,000 Since 1973.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market expectations (from Bloomberg) were 253,000 to 280,000 (consensus 267,000), and the Department of Labor reported 253,000 new claims. 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 266,500 (reported last week as 266,750) 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 5.5 % lower (improvement from the 4.8 % for last week) than they were in this same week in 2015.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line). 2015 (violet line), 2016 (light blue)

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:

IIn the week ending April 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 253,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 267,000 to 266,000. The 4-week moving average was 265,000, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 266,750 to 266,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 58 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending April 2, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 2 was 2,171,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 2,000 from 2,191,000 to 2,189,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,178,000, a decrease of 10,250 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 down by 500 from 2,188,750 to 2,188,250.

Steven Hansen

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