Jobless Claims: Sharp Decline

December 13, 2018
Bottom Line: Claims fell sharply last week, mostly due to difficult seasonal adjustments around the Thanksgiving Holiday. The seasonal factor had expected a decline of 57k but actual declines came in at just over 23k. Additionally there were sharp moves in claims from several states that were unusual, likely due to the holiday. Still, the trend has been modestly higher in the 4th Quarter but has been influenced by several factors that may have artificially pushed claims higher. Expect more volatility through year-end until a more clear trend can be ascertained from this data. For now overall labor market indicators still suggest a strong and tight labor market but there are hints of a modest deceleration in the pace of labor gains. Jobless Claims FELL by 27k during the week ended December 8th, 206k, compared with market expectations for a decline to 220k.The 4-week average FELL by 3.8k to 225k and the 13 week average ROSE by 0.2k to 216k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 25k during the week ended December 1st to 1,661k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 1,668k to 1,636k.The 4-week average FELL by 3k to 1,666k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 16k to 1,650k during the week ended November 24th. The Insured Jobless Rate ROSE by 0.1% to 1.2% during the week ended December 1st. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.