Weekly Unemployment Claims; Lowest Since March 2020

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending June 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 385,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The 4-week moving average was 402,500, a decrease of 25,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 428,000. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending May 29, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 29 was 3,499,000, a decrease of 258,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 21, 2020 when it was 3,094,000. The previous week's level was revised down by 14,000 from 3,771,000 to 3,757,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,651,250, a decrease of 35,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 28, 2020 when it was 3,611,750. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,250 from 3,687,750 to 3,686,500. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 376K new claims, down 9K from the previous week's revised figure, was worse than the Investing.com forecast of 370K. This is its lowest since March 2020.

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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