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Jobless Claims: Sharp Increase Amid Processing Bottlenecks

March 18, 2021
Bottom Line: Claims rose sharply last week, led b increases in Texas and Illinois.  There continued to be significant volatility among the states as weather-related bottlenecks in processing worked through the systems.  There were upward revisions to prior data confirming this.  Looking through the volatility, the 4-week average is still modestly below the 13-week average, indicating the trend was still improving.  Moreover, the unadjusted claims tally for the week was up less than the headline figure.   Still, the trend bears watching here as claims are not falling as quickly as reopenings.
Our Nowcasting model forecasts have been suggesting real-time claims were running higher than the reported tally.   And another week of upward revisions largely confirms the model has been correct.   On the plus side, as of now the model forecast for this week's data (to be reported next week) is sharply lower.
Jobless Claims ROSE by 45k during the week ended March 13th to 770k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 700k.The 4-week average FELL by 16.0k to 746k and the 13 week average FELL by 9.4k to 805k.
Continuing Claims FELL by 18k during the week ended March 6th to 4,124k, The 4-week average FELL by 99k to 4,256k.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 96k to 4,486k during the week ended February 27th.
The Insured Jobless Rate
ROSE by  0.1% to 3.0% during the week ended March 6th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.