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Jobless Claims: Seasonal Volatility Due to Adjustment Factors

December 22, 2016
Bottom Line: Seasonal factors are already impacting the claims data before the actual holidays arrive. Unadjusted claims totaled 315.6k in the week ending December 17th, an increase of over 10k. But the seasonal factor had expected a decline of nearly 14k. Thus, the seasonal adjustment accounts for nearly all of the 21k increase we see in the seasonally adjusted headline initial claims figure. Expect more volatility over the next few weeks. The trend, though, continues to suggest steady, slow labor market gains with jobless claims holding near record lows.

Jobless Claims ROSE by 21k during the week ended December 17th, 275k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 257k.The 4-week average ROSE by 6.0k to 264k and the 13 week average ROSE by 1.8k to 256k.

Continuing Claims ROSE by 15k during the week ended December 10th to 2,036k, after the prior week was revised slightly higher from 2,018k to 2,021k.The 4-week average FELL by 2k to 2,037k.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 98k to 2,095k during the week ended December 3rd.

The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.5% during the week ended December 10th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.