Department of Labor Reports Weekly Unemployment Claims Up
“In the week ending November 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised level.”
Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending November 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 6,000 from 742,000 to 748,000. The 4-week moving average was 748,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 742,000 to 743,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the week ending November 14, 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 November 14 was 6,071,000, a decrease of 299,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 2,000 from 6,372,000 to 6,370,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,615,250, a decrease of 438,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 1,250 from 7,054,500 to 7,053,250. [See full report]
This morning’s seasonally adjusted 778K new claims, up 30K from the previous week’s revised figure, was worse than the Investing.com forecast of 730K.
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.
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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.
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).
Because of the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted weekly data, we can add a 52-week moving average to give a better sense of the secular trends. The chart below also has a linear regression through the data.
Here’s a look at each year’s claims going back to 2009.
For an analysis of unemployment claims as a percent of the labor force, see this regularly updated piece The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle. Here is a snapshot from that analysis.
Here’s our complete list of monthly employment updates: