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Jobless Claims: Bounce Due to Holiday Volatility

December 1, 2016
Bottom Line: Difficult seasonal adjustments around the US Thanksgiving holiday last week and the Veteran's Days holiday two week's prior to that continue to create volatility in claims data. Last week, for instance, the headline figure rose from 251k to 268k but the Department of Labor reported that unadjusted initial claims fell 37k -- the seasonal factors had expected a decline of 53k. Longer-term averages still suggest improvement over the course of November. The 52-week average is at 264k, the 13-week average is now 255k and the 4-week average is at 251k. That said, with Veteran's Day falling during the survey week for non-farm payrolls to be reported tomorrow, the potential for an out of consensus print (expected 170k for November after October's 142k) is even higher than usual.

Jobless Claims ROSE by 17k during the week ended November 26th, 268k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 257k.The prior week was revised moderately lower from 254k to 233k.The 4-week average FELL by 2.0k to 251k and the 13 week average ROSE by 0.4k to 255k.

Continuing Claims ROSE by 38k during the week ended November 19th to 2,081k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 2,041k to 1,983k.The 4-week average ROSE by 13k to 2,038k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 116k to 1,857k during the week ended November 12nd.

The Insured Jobless Rate ROSE by 0.1% to 1.5% during the week ended November 19th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.