Jobless Claims:  Huge Jump Amid Shutdown & Holiday

January 31, 2019
Bottom Line: Difficult seasonal adjustments around the holiday last Monday led to an unusually large spike in the reported level of jobless claims last week. Almost all of the increase can be attributed to the seasonal factor expecting a decline of 71k versus the actual unadjusted decline of 19k. Furloughed government workers were not eligible for claims, and thus didn't contribute to the recent volatility in claims. Certainly there were some sectors related to government that laid off workers, but that was not overly evident in the data. For now this increase appears to be a one-off seasonal quirk. The trend in labor markets remains steadily stronger with more evidence coming in tomorrow's payroll report. Jobless Claims ROSE by 53k during the week ended January 26th, 253k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 215k.The 4-week average ROSE by 5.0k to 220k and the 13 week average ROSE by 2.9k to 222k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 69k during the week ended January 19th to 1,782k, The 4-week average ROSE by 8k to 1,738k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 39k to 2,129k during the week ended January 12nd. The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.2% during the week ended January 19th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.