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Jobless Claims: More Volatility Amid Processing Delays

February 18, 2021
Bottom Line: Claims were surprisingly higher for the second straight week, rebounding to 861k on a seasonally adjusted basis and falling only slightly on an adjusted basis to 862k.  Claims in California were an estimate from the state last week, as they continue to deal with bottlenecks in processing.   And claims in Illinois nearly doubled as processing created volatility in their data releases.   Expect these state-level anomalies to subside after a few more weeks of seasonal adjustments and weather-related processing delays.   The trend is still modestly lower as most states reported declines.
Our Nowcasting model forecast suggests claims will be mostly steady next week, possibly inching a touch higher.  But weather-related delays will create volatility and more estimated data from many states.
Jobless Claims ROSE by 13k during the week ended February 13th to 861k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 773k.The 4-week average FELL by 3.5k to 833k and the 13-week average ROSE by 8.7k to 828k.
Continuing Claims FELL by 64k during the week ended February 6th to 4,494k, The 4-week average FELL by 120k to 4,632k.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 94k to 4,945k during the week ended January 30th.

The Insured Jobless Rate
STAYED at 3.2% during the week ended February 6th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.