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Jobless Claims: Continued Declines

May 20, 2021
Bottom Line: Claims fell below 450k for the first time since the pandemic last week. The trend is lower amid continued reopenings and vaccine distribution. There were modest upside revisions to the prior week's data but nothing that impacted the trend.  The four-week average, now at 505k, looks set to fall below 500k in the coming weeks, well below the 13-week average of over 600k.  While there will be continued volatility in hiring, the numbers seeking jobless benefits clearly show continued improvement in labor markets. 
Our Nowcasting model suggests claims have fallen further this week, likely coming in below 425k when reported next Thursday.
Jobless Claims FELL by 34k during the week ended May 15th to 444k, compared with market expectations for  450k. The 4-week average FELL by 30.5k to 505k and the 13-week average FELL by 31.0k to 639k.
Continuing Claims ROSE by 111k during the week ended May 8th to 3,751k, The 4-week average ROSE by 25k to 3,681k.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 10k to 3,684k during the week ended May 1st.

The Insured Jobless Rate
ROSE by  0.1% to 2.7% during the week ended May 8th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.