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Jobless Claims: Steady Near Lows, But Not A Signal For Tomorrow's Payrolls

August 31, 2017
Bottom Line: After hitting new lows in the week ended August 12th, claims have rebounded less than expected as labor market trends remained positive. The 4-week average is at 237k, below the 13-week average that is now 241k, indicating the labor market trends are still improving modestly.

That said, the low volatility in claims does not necessarily mean we should expect a consensus jobs report for August tomorrow -- with an early cutoff date for the August nonfarm payroll report and the report coming just one business day after month-end, labor statisticians will need to estimate many sectors like education and retail staffed with students. Those factors have little impact on claims, but a significant impact on payrolls.

Jobless Claims ROSE by 1k during the week ended August 26th, 236k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 238k.The 4-week average FELL by 1.3k to 237k and the 13 week average FELL by 1.5k to 241k.

Continuing Claims FELL by 12k during the week ended August 19th to 1,942k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 1,954k to 1,954k.The 4-week average FELL by 6k to 1,952k.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 47k to 1,839k during the week ended August 12nd.

The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.4% during the week ended August 19th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.