New Jobless Claims: Down 4K, Better Than Forecast

jobsJill Mislinski:  Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending June 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 264,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 267,000 to 268,000. The 4-week moving average was 269,500, a decrease of 7,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 276,750 to 277,000.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. This marks 66 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973. [See full report]

Today’s seasonally adjusted 264K new claims, down 4K from last week’s revised 268K, was below the Investing.com forecast of 270K. As the report notes, this the 66th consecutive week of claims below 300K.

The four-week moving average is at 269,500, down 7,500 from last week’s number.

Here is a close look at the data over the past few years (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession and the volatility in recent months.

Unemployment Claims since 2007

As we can see, there’s a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

Unemployment Claims

The headline Unemployment Insurance data is seasonally adjusted. What does the non-seasonally adjusted data look like? See the chart below, which clearly shows extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data (the red dots). The 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change (note, for example, those regular January spikes).

Nonseasonally Adjusted Claims

Because of the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted weekly data, we can add a 52-week moving average to give a better sense of the secular trends. The chart below also has a linear regression through the data. We can see that this metric continues to fall below the long-term trend stretching back to 1968.

Nonseasonally Adjusted 52-week MA

Annual Comparisons

Here is a calendar-year overlay since 2009 using the 4-week moving average.

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