2010 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 12/16/2010 8:30:00 AM For wk12/11, 2010
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level421 K420 K414 K to 435 K420 K
4-week Moving Average - Level427.5 K428.0 K422.75 K

Jobless claims improved slightly to an as-expected level of 420,000 in the December 11 week. This extends a run of improvement evidenced by the four-week average which has fallen for six weeks in a row. The average, at 422,750, is down more than 20,000 from a month ago in what is a positive signal for payroll growth. The four-week average for continuing claims, at 4.186 million, has been falling at 150,000 to 200,000 month-to-month clips to also signal payroll strength.

Note this is a tricky time of year for adjustments and the Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that unadjusted claims will, starting next week, begin to build to an annual peak in the second week of January. Still, claims data continue to signal improvement in the labor market.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims for the December 4 week declined 17,000 to 421,000. The four-week average, which smoothes out weekly bumps, fell 4,000 to 427,500.

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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