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posted on 05 May 2016

30 April 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Worsened. 61 Consecutive Weeks Of Initial Claims Below 300,000

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Bloomberg) were 256,000 to 271,000 (consensus 262,000), and the Department of Labor reported 274,000 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 256,000 (reported last week as 256,000) to 258,000. 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 7.1 % lower (worse than the 8.9 % 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:

In the week ending April 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 257,000. The 4-week moving average was 258,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 256,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. This marks 61 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent for the week ending April 23, 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 April 23 was 2,121,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 2,129,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since November 4, 2000 when it was 2,110,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,140,250, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,157,250. This is the lowest level for this average since November 11, 2000 when it was 2,119,750.

Steven Hansen



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