2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 5/4/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk4/29, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level257 K246 K245 K to 250 K238 K
4-week Moving Average - Level242.25 K243.00 K
New Claims - Change14 K-19 K

Week-to-week volatility has been pronounced but the trend in jobless claims is clearly favorable. Initial claims fell a very sharp 19,000 in the April 29 week to a 238,000 level that more than reverses the prior week's 14,000 jump and is 8,000 below the Econoday consensus. The 4-week average, after falling in the prior four weeks, is up only slightly to 243,000 which is nearly 10,000 below the month-ago trend in a comparison consistent with building demand for labor.

Continuing claims are also favorable, down 23,000 in lagging data for the April 22 week with this 4-week average down a sizable 18,000 to 1.989 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers (which excludes job leavers and re-entrants) is steady at a very low 1.4 percent.

There are no special factors in today's report, one that confirms strength in labor demand going into tomorrow's employment report for April.

Consensus Outlook
Jobless claims have been very low and pointing to unusually strong demand for labor. Forecasters sees initial claims coming in at 246,000 in the April 29 week and reversing the prior week's 14,000 rise to 257,000.

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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