06 February 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves

Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 750 K to 878 K (consensus 803 K), and the Department of Labor reported 793,000 new claims. 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 856,500 (reported last week as 848,250) to 823,000

Analyst Opinion of Initial Unemployment Claims

Job's loss since the start of the pandemic is now 78,242,000. Many in this number are now employed or have dropped out of the workforce as all programs continuing claims number is 20,435,018, up from last week's 17,838,479

It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change in the 4-week moving average. There is always some seasonality that migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons help remove some seasonality. The four-week rolling average of initial claims is 293 % higher than one year ago (versus the 307 % higher last week).

Claim levels before the coronavirus pandemic were at 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 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 793,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 33,000 from 779,000 to 812,000. The 4-week moving average was 823,000, a decrease of 33,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 8,250 from 848,250 to 856,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2 percent for the week ending January 30, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate. The previous week's rate was revised up by 0.1 from 3.2 to 3.3 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 30 was 4,545,000, a decrease of 145,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 98,000 from 4,592,000 to 4,690,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,748,750, a decrease of 157,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 24,500 from 4,881,750 to 4,906,250.

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