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Jobless Claims: Modest Increase, Trend Still Lower

December 16, 2021
Bottom Line: Difficult seasonal adjustments had an unusually large impact on the headline level of claims in the prior weeks, and it was no surprise to see a modest increase last week. The trend remains in the direction of improvement, albeit very slowly now as the rate of claims has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels in the 200-250k range. The four-week average remains below the 13-week average.
Finally, our Nowcast model, which only uses non-seasonally adjusted data, suggests claims may have edged up a bit more this week. But we note no major change in trend.
Initial Jobless Claims ROSE 18k in the week ended December 11th to 206k, ABOVE the 4-week average of 204k, BELOW the 13-week average of 272k but 667k BELOW the year-ago level.
Claims for the 4th of Dec were revised up from +184k to +188k. Non-seasonally adjusted Claims FELL slightly, DOWN 16.4k to 268k.
Continuing Claims FELL sharply in the week ended December 4th, DOWN 154k to 1.84M, BELOW the 4-week average of 1.96M, BELOW the 13-week average of 2.3M, and 3.77M BELOW the year-ago level. Continuing Claims for the 27th of Nov were revised up from +1.99M to +2M.
The Insured Jobless Rate FELL -10bps in the week ended December 4th to 1.4%. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.