2012 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 2/16/2012 8:30:00 AM For wk2/11, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level358 K361 K365 K355 K to 370 K348 K
4-week Moving Average - Level366.25 K367.00 K365.25 K
New Claims - Change-15 K-12 K-13 K

The weeks are normal and there's nothing special skewing the data -- data that increasingly point to pivotal improvement underway in the nation's jobs market. Initial claims fell 13,000 in the February 11 week to 348,000 (prior week revised to 361,000). And for the 10th time in 11 weeks, the 4-week average is down, falling 1,750 to 365,250 (prior revised to 367,000). A month-to-month comparison shows an improvement of not quite 10,000 which points to rising gains for monthly payroll growth.

Continuing claims are also lower, down a very sizable 100,000 in data for the February 4 week to 3.426 million. The 4-week average is down 8,000 to 3.493 million. The unemployment rate for insured employees is down 1 tenth to 2.7 percent.

Europe may or may not be sliding into recession but there's no evidence of it in the US jobs market which appears to be recovering at an accelerating rate. Today's report is certain to be a plus for the stock market. Also look for economists, based on today's data, to begin issuing preliminary forecasts for February payroll growth.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims in the February 4 week fell 15,000 to 358,000 with the 4-week average down a very sizable 11,000 to 366,250. The 4-week average was down for the 9th time in 10 weeks and, in a monthly comparison, was down roughly 15,000 from early January.

Continuing claims rose 64,000 in data for the January 28 week to 3.515 million but the 4-week average for this series was down 33,000 to 3.498 million.

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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