2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 4/20/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk4/15, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level234 K242 K236 K to 250 K244 K
4-week Moving Average - Level247.25 K243.00 K
New Claims - Change-1 K10 K

Jobless claims are very low consistent with uninterrupted strength in the labor market. Initial claims came in at 244,000 which is near consensus and which pulls the 4-week average lower for a 3rd week in row, down a sizable 4,250 to 243,000. The sample week of April 15 was also the sample week of the April employment report and comparisons with the sample week of the March report are favorable: a 17,000 decline at the headline level and a 3,500 decline for the 4-week average.

In data that lag by a week, continuing claims are also favorable, falling a sizable 49,000 to 1.979 million for a 17-year low. This 4-week average is down 2,000 to 2.024 million which is also a 17-year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers (excludes job leavers and re-entrants) is down 1 tenth to a very low 1.4 percent.

Employers are having a difficult time filling openings and, judging by claims data, are holding on tightly to their existing employees. This report should raise expectations for bounce-back job growth in the April employment report. There are no special factors though claims from Puerto Rico and once again Louisiana had to be estimated.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims have beaten Econoday expectations very sharply in the 2 prior weeks. At 234,000 in the April 8 week, claims were expected to have returned to March's 245,000 trend. And forecasters once again see claims moving higher, to a consensus 242,000 in the April 15 week. Unemployment claims have been very low and favorable consistent with strong demand for labor.

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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