2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 3/2/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk2/25, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level244 K242 K245 K240 K to 250 K223 K
4-week Moving Average - Level241.00 K240.50 K234.25 K
New Claims - Change6 K4 K-19 K

The health of the labor market is unusually good based on jobless claims which remain unusually low and are pressing even lower. Initial claims in the February 25 week fell a very sharp 19,000 to a much lower-than-expected 223,000 which is 17,000 below Econoday's low forecast. The 4-week average is down 6,250 to 234,250 in telling confirmation of strength. And like the week's 223,000 headline level, the average marks a new low for the economic cycle, in fact lows for both going back to the early 1970s.

Continuing claims are telling the same story, little changed at 2.066 million in lagging data for the February 18 week with the 4-week average unchanged at 2.071 million. This average is about 20,000 below the month-ago comparison which, like all the other readings in this report, is a favorable sign for next week's employment data. There are no special factors in today's report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims have remained very low and favorable with initial claims in February running more than 5,000 below January's levels and pointing to strength for the February employment report. Continuing claims have also been coming down, running about 25,000 below a month ago. Forecasters are calling for 1,000 rise to 245,000 in initial claims for the February 25 week.

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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