New Jobless Claims: Down 10K, Slightly Worse Than Forecast

January 7, 2016 4:16pm NYSE:DIA

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


In the week ending January 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 277,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 287,000. The 4-week moving average was 275,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 277,000.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. [See full report]

Today’s seasonally adjusted 277K new claims was down 10K from last week, slightly above the Investing.com forecast of 275K.

The four-week moving average is at 275,750, down 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. The purpose is to compare the annual slopes since the peak in the spring of 2009.

Yearly Overlay

For an analysis of unemployment claims as a percent of the labor force, see our recent commentary What Do Weekly Unemployment Claims Tell us About Recession Risk? Here is a snapshot from that analysis.

Initial Claims to the CLF

For a broader view of unemployment, see the latest update in our monthly series Unemployment and the Market Since 1948.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Jill Mislinski from Advisor Perspectives.


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