Jobless Claims FELL by 3k during the week ended February 15th to 336k, compared with market expectations for a decrease to 335k. The 4-week average ROSE by 2k to 339k and the 13 week average rose by 1k to 338k. Initial claims have been on a declining trend over the past 3 years.
Continuing Claims ROSE by 37k during the week ended February 8th to 2,981k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 2,953k to 2,944k. The 4-week average FELL by 7k to 2,960k. Despite this week's increase, continuing claims have also been on a declining trend for more than 3 years.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 9k to 3,453k during the week ended February 1st. The Total Number of People Collecting Unemployment Compensation ROSE by 73k to 4,804k. Despite this week's increase, continuing claims have been declining amid modest volatility for the past three years.
The Insured Jobless Rate ROSE to 2.3% from 2.2% during the week ended February 8th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance, not those receiving federal emergency benefits.
Bottom Line: Initial claims declined slightly after increasing the prior week. The 4-week average is at 339k, slightly above the 13-week average that is now 338k, indicating labor market trends are little changed. These data are for the survey week for payroll employment -- and initial claims are slightly higher than they were during the January survey week, but moderately lower than in December, suggesting modest hiring (and a pace of payroll growth similar to January). Continuing claims rose slightly but remained on their 3-year long declining trend.