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Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected By Hurricanes

By Jill MislinskiMarket OverviewSep 14, 2017 09:50AM ET
www.investing.com/analysis/weekly-unemployment-claims-down-14k-affected-by-hurricanes-200213255
Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected By Hurricanes
By Jill Mislinski   |  Sep 14, 2017 09:50AM ET
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Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending September 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 284,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 298,000. The 4-week moving average was 263,250, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 250,250. This is the highest level for this average since August 13, 2016 when it was 263,250.

Hurricane Harvey and Irma impacted this week's initial claims. [See full report]

Today's seasonally adjusted 284K new claims, down 14K from last week's 298K, was better than the Investing.com forecast of 300K.

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.

Unemployment Claims Since 2007
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
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 the 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
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
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, near the end of the Great Recession.

Yearly Overlay
Yearly Overlay

For an analysis of unemployment claims as a percent of the labor force, see regularly updated piece The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle Here is a snapshot from that analysis.

Initial Claims To The CLF
Initial Claims To The CLF

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected By Hurricanes
 

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Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected By Hurricanes

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