14 February 2015 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Again Improves

Blue Line 4 Week Average

The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 270,000 to 305,000 (consensus 290,000) vs the 283,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 289,750 (reported last week as 289,750) to 283,250. The rolling averages have been equal to or under 300,000 for the 22 of the previous 23 weeks.

It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is always some seasonality which migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons helps remove some seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 16.3% lower (better than the 14.0% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014 (see chart below).

Claim levels remain near 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion – see chart below).

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending February 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 283,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 304,000. The 4-week moving average was 283,250, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 289,750. There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8 percent for the week ending February 7, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 7 was 2,425,000, an increase of 58,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 13,000 from 2,354,000 to 2,367,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,398,000, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 3,500 from 2,404,000 to 2,407,500.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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