Jobless Claims: Lower, Hints of Virus Impact in Seattle

March 12, 2020
Bottom Line: Initial jobless claims edged lower on both a seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted basis last week. Claims in the state of Washington jumped 15%, though. While this is still within the bounds of average state-level volatility, it is potentially some (very early) indication of how the virus outbreak in the Seattle area has impacted the labor market. Nationally there are no signs of any impact yet. The 4-week average for claims is still below the 13-week average, indicating an improving labor market trend overall. Jobless Claims FELL by 4k during the week ended March 7th to 211k, compared with market expectations for a decline to 220k.The 4-week average ROSE by 1.3k to 214k and the 13-week average FELL by 3.2k to 216k. Continuing Claims FELL by 11k during the week ended February 29th to 1,722k, after the prior week was revised slightly higher from 1,726k to 1,733k.The 4-week average ROSE by 5k to 1,728k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 51k to 2,055k during the week ended February 22nd. The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 1.2% during the week ended February 29th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.