Jill Mislinski: Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:
In the week ending August 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 270,000 to 269,000. The 4-week moving average was 266,250, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2000 when it was 266,250. The previous week’s average was revised down by 250 from 268,250 to 268,000.
There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. [See full report]
Today’s seasonally adjusted 274K new claims was slightly worse than the Investing.com forecast of 270K.
The four-week moving average at 266,5000 is currently at its interim low and at its lowest point since April 2000.
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.