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Jobless Claims: Moving Back Towards Trend

February 21, 2019
Bottom Line: Jobless Claims fell sharply last week, moving back down towards the 13-week average. The tremendous volatility that resulted in higher claims for several weeks was mostly due to several different one-off factors, rather than to any shift in trend. The 4-week average is at 236k, above the 13-week average that is now 224k. We expect the 4-week average to continue to move back down towards the longer-term average after a few more weeks of holiday and weather-related volatility. As we noted last week, looking through the volatility, the trend is still towards modest to moderate labor market improvement.

Jobless Claims FELL by 23k during the week ended February 16th, 216k, compared with market expectations for a decline to 228k.The 4-week average ROSE by 4.0k to 236k and the 13 week average FELL by 0.7k to 224k.

Continuing Claims FELL by 55k during the week ended February 9th to 1,725k, after the prior week was revised slightly higher from 1,736k to 1,780k.The 4-week average ROSE by 3k to 1,755k.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 59k to 2,084k during the week ended February 2nd.

The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.2% during the week ended February 9th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.