2012 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 3/29/2012 8:30:00 AM For wk3/24, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level348 K364 K350 K341 K to 352 K359 K
4-week Moving Average - Level355.00 K368.50 K365.00 K
New Claims - Change-5 K1 K-5 K

Annual revisions have moved the level of initial claims slightly higher but have not changed the direction -- which is down. Initial claims in the March 24 week fell 5,000 to 359,000 from a revised 364,000 in the prior week. The four-week average is down 3,500 to 365,000 from the prior week which was revised to 368,500 from 355,000. These levels are recovery lows. Aside from the revisions, the Labor Department notes nothing unusual in the data.

Weekly continuing claims fell 41,000 to 3.340 million with the four-week average down slightly to 3.388 million. These levels are also recovery lows as is the 2.6 percent unemployment rate for insured workers, down one percentage point in the week.

The labor market is on the mend and jobless claims continue to be the leading signal of the improvement. Next on the jobs market will be a run of anecdotal indications over the next week beginning with regional reports from Kansas City later this morning and Chicago on Friday.

Consensus Outlook
Special note: The March 29th release includes annual revisions for weekly and monthly initial and continued claims back to 2007, as well as 2012 seasonal factors. Consensus numbers do not take this into account.

Initial jobless claims fell 5,000 in the March 17 week to a better-than-expected 348,000 versus a revised 353,000 in the prior week. The four-week average was down 1,250 to 355,000. Claims peaked early on in the recession at over 600,000 and were last below 300,000 during the peak of the expansion in 2006.

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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