Jobless Claims: Edged Lower, Signs of Virus?

March 5, 2020
Bottom Line: Initial jobless claims edged lower on a seasonally adjusted basis last week. Actual claims were higher, but that is typical in a week following a week that included a holiday. Overall, the trend was little changed. The 4-week average was 213k, still below the 13-week average, 219k, a positive signal for labor market trends. There was a sharp increase in claims in the state of New York last week - while it is still far too early to tell, there is the potential that job losses have started in the more densely populated regions due to the coronavirus. This is something we are watching closely -- but again, it is too early to make any conclusions. Jobless Claims FELL by 3k during the week ended February 29th to 216k, compared with market expectations for a decline to 212k.The 4-week average ROSE by 3.3k to 213k and the 13 week average ROSE by 1.0k to 219k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 7k during the week ended February 22nd to 1,729k, after the prior week was revised slightly lower from 1,726k to 1,722k.The 4-week average FELL by 8k to 1,721k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 39k to 2,101k during the week ended February 15th. The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.2% during the week ended February 22nd. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.