Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 24K

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending July 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 400,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 5,000 from 419,000 to 424,000. The 4-week moving average was 394,500, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,250 from 385,250 to 386,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending July 17, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 17 was 3,269,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 26,000 from 3,236,000 to 3,262,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,290,750, a decrease of 53,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 21, 2020 when it was 2,071,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 6,500 from 3,338,000 to 3,344,500. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 400K new claims, down 24K from the previous week's revised figure, was worse than the Investing.com forecast of 380K.

Here is a close look at the data over the decade (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend.

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

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).

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