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New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

Summary:
Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor: In the week ending November 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 271,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 276,000. The 4-week moving average was 270,750, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 267,750. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. [See full report] Today's seasonally adjusted 271K new claims, unchanged from last week, was on par with the Investing.com forecast of 271K. The four-week moving average is at 270,750, up from last week's 267,750. 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).

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Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending November 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 271,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 276,000. The 4-week moving average was 270,750, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 267,750.

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

Today's seasonally adjusted 271K new claims, unchanged from last week, was on par with the Investing.com forecast of 271K.

The four-week moving average is at 270,750, up from last week's 267,750.

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.

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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.

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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).

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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.

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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.

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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.

New Jobless Claims: Down 5K, As Expected

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

Jill Mislinski
Jill has been working with Advisor Perspectives since 2012 and is currently their Research Director as part of Doug Short’s team. Her background is in mathematics and physics and she holds a Master of Science in Physical Science with a concentration in physics and astronomy from the University of Chicago.

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