Jobless Claims:  Unchanged, Underlying Volatility Masked

May 2, 2019
Bottom Line: Claims were steady last week, holding at the highest levels since February amid difficult seasonal adjustment around the Easter holiday. State-level claims suggested there continued to be aberrations in the data with one-off spikes in New York and New Jersey, while Massachusetts, which had seen a spike the prior week, moved back down. Overall, there is little evidence to suggest any change in the trend, which remains towards modestly tighter labor markets. The 4-week average is at 213k, still below the 13-week average that is now 217k. Jobless Claims were UNCHANGED during the week ended April 27th, 230k, compared with market expectations for a decline to 215k.The 4-week average ROSE by 6.5k to 213k and the 13 week average FELL by 1.1k to 217k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 17k during the week ended April 20th to 1,671k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 1,736k to 1,654k.The 4-week average FELL by 14k to 1,674k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 56k to 1,648k during the week ended April 13th. The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.2% during the week ended April 20th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.