2013 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 11/21/2013 8:30:00 AM For wk11/16, 2013
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level339 K344 K335 K323 K to 360 K323 K
4-week Moving Average - Level344.00 K345.25 K338.50 K
New Claims - Change-2 K3 K-21 K

In a November 16 week shortened by Veteran's Day, initial jobless claims fell a sharp 21,000 to 323,000 for the lowest level since the government shutdown lifted claims in the first half of October. Shortened reporting periods increase the effects of adjustments and turn the focus on the 4-week average which is confirming improvement, down 6,750 to 338,500. This level is nearly even with the 337,500 in the October 19 week. Both the latest week and the October 19 week were the reporting periods for the monthly employment report.

Despite a sharp 66,000 weekly increase in continuing claims, the trend in continuing claims also shows improvement with the 4-week average about 20,000 lower than the mid-October comparison. The level of the 4-week average, at 2.857 million, is just off the prior week's recovery low of 2.850 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 2.2 percent.

Jobless claims have been clouded by special factors all quarter as are today's data, in this case by the shortened week. Still, the underlying trends point to a little less attrition right now in the jobs market.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims fell but only slightly in the November 9 week to a 339,000 level. The prior week, at 341,000, was revised 5,000 higher. The 4-week average, at 344,000, pointed to improvement but again not very much. The average was down 4,250 from mid-month October when the government shutdown hit which hints at improvement for the November employment report.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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