2009 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 4/23/2009 8:30:00 AM For wk4/18, 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level610 K636 K615 K to 650 K640 K
4-week Moving Average - Level651 K646.75 K

The rate of new layoffs is severe but is at least steady. First-time jobless claims rose 27,000 in the April 18 week to a slightly higher-than-expected level of 640,000 (prior week revised slightly higher to 613,000). The week's level is very near the four-week average of 646,750 which is the lowest average since early March.

But continuing claims show increasing trouble, up 93,000 to a record 6.137 million (data for the April 11 week). Continuing claims have set 12 straight records, reflecting the mounting number of unemployed. The unemployment rate for insured workers rose another notch to 4.6 percent, the highest since 1983. Money moved into the Treasury market in limited reaction to the report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims for the latest week fell to a much lower-than-expected level of 610,000, down 53,000 from the 663,000 in the prior week. But the latest data are for the holiday shortened Easter/Passover week of April 11. The Labor Department warned that the results were heavily affected by adjustments. The four-week average came in at 651,000. But the really negative news was that continuing claims for the April 4 week jumped again to another historical record, up 172,000 to above 6 million at 6.02 million. This coming week, we may see a jump in initial claims, coming off the holiday week before.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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