New Jobless Claims Better Than Forecast [Dow Jones Industrial Average, SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust]

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

In the week ending July 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 281,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 297,000 to 296,000. The 4-week moving average was 282,500, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 250 from 279,500 to 279,250.

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

Today’s seasonally adjusted 281K new claims was below the Investing.com forecast of 285K.

The four-week moving average at 282,500 is 16K 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.

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.

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