In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 270,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 267,000. The 4-week moving average was 268,250, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 274,750.
There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. [See full report]
Today’s seasonally adjusted 270K new claims was slightly above the Investing.com forecast of 273K.
The four-week moving average at 268,250 is almost 2K above the 15-year interim low set in mid-May.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.