Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 279,000 to 300,000 (consensus 290,000) vs the 313,000 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 283,000 (reported last week as 283,250) to 294,500. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for the 23 of the previous 24 weeks.
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 13.0% lower (worse than the 16.3% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014 (see chart below).
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 February 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 313,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 283,000 to 282,000. The 4-week moving average was 294,500, an increase of 11,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 250 from 283,250 to 283,000. 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 February 14, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 14 was 2,401,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 3,000 from 2,425,000 to 2,422,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,399,000, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 750 from 2,398,000 to 2,397,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims – 4 Week Average – Seasonally Adjusted – 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line). 2015 (violet line)