2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 3/30/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk3/25, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level258 K261 K247 K243 K to 255 K258 K
4-week Moving Average - Level240.00 K246.50 K254.25 K
New Claims - Change15 K15 K-3 K

Initial jobless claims did fall 3,000 in the March 25 week but the level of 258,000 is higher than expected and, next to the prior week's 261,000, is the highest so far this year. After last week's report, the Labor Department issued seasonal corrections to this year's data which lowered rates early in the year at the expense of March. The 4-week average at 254,250 is nearly 15,000 higher than the level in late February which is a slightly negative indication for the March employment report.

Last week's revision to continuing claims was more limited as this series continues to point to ongoing improvement. Continuing claims in lagging data for the March 18 week did rise 65,000 to 2.052 million but the 4-week average is down 31,000 from mid-February. The unemployment rate for insured workers is up 1 tenth but at a still very low 1.5 percent.

Month-to-month indications from the jobless claims report are clouded but the readings remain very low and very favorable and point to strong demand for labor. There are no special factors in today's reports though levels for Hawaii and Louisiana were estimated.

Consensus Outlook
The trend for jobless claims has been clouded by a correction to prior data, one tied to seasonal adjustments and which has lifted levels of recent readings. Claims in the March 18 week have been revised 3,000 higher to 261,000 with the weekly increase at a sizable 15,000. Forecasters see initial claims in the March 25 week falling back to trend, down 14,000 to 247,000.

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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