Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 275,000 to 290,000 (consensus 290,000) vs the 298,000 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 290,500 (reported last week as 290,250) to 290,750. Rolling averages under 300,000 are excellent.
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 19.0% lower (better than the 16.8% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).
2014 claim levels are 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 December 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 280,000 to 281,000. The 4-week moving average was 290,750, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 290,250 to 290,500. There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8 percent for the week ending December 20, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 20 was 2,353,000, a decrease of 53,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 3,000 from 2,403,000 to 2,406,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,414,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 2,418,250 to 2,419,000.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims – 4 Week Average – Seasonally Adjusted – 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)