2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 2/23/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk2/18, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level239 K238 K244 K240 K to 250 K244 K
4-week Moving Average - Level245.25 K245.00 K241.00 K
New Claims - Change5 K4 K6 K

Highlights
January's employment report proved surprisingly strong and jobless claims this month point to another strong employment report for February. Initial claims hit the Econoday consensus at 244,000 in the February 18 week which is also the sample week for the February employment report. Comparisons with the sample week of the January report show a small increase of 7,000 but, when looking at the 4-week averages, a 6,500 decline. At 241,000, the current 4-week average is the lowest since July 1973.

Data for continuing claims lag, so a sample-week to sample-week comparison won't be available until next week. But the data are moving lower with continuing claims down 17,000 to 2.060 million in the February 11 week with this 4-week average down 9,000 to a 2.070 million level that is nearly 25,000 below the month-ago comparison.

Several states were estimated during the week which, for initial claims, was a holiday shortened one for Presidents Day. But the trends for this report are unmistakable, pointing to strong demand for labor.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Initial jobless claims have posted back-to-back readings in the 230,000s, a rare indication of strength in the labor market. The February 18 week matches the sample week of the February employment report and forecasters are calling for substantial strength, at 243,000 and little changed from 239,000 in the prior week.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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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