Weekly Unemployment Claims: Up 51K, Worse Than Expected

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending July 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 419,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 8,000 from 360,000 to 368,000. The 4-week moving average was 385,250, an increase of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,000 from 382,500 to 384,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending July 10, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured nemployment during the week ending July 10 was 3,236,000, a decrease of 29,000 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 up 24,000 from 3,241,000 to 3,265,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,338,000, a decrease of 44,000 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 6,000 from 3,376,000 to 3,382,000. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 419K new claims, up 51K from the previous week's revised figure, was worse than the Investing.com forecast of 350K.

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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