2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 5/18/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk5/13, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level236 K240 K239 K to 245 K232 K
4-week Moving Average - Level243.50 K240.75 K
New Claims - Change-2 K-4 K

There's been no let up in demand for labor, judging by jobless claims which remain right at record lows. Initial claims fell 4,000 in the May 13 week to a lower-than-expected a 232,000 level that pulls the 4-week average down 2,750 to 240,750. The May 13 week was also the sample week for the May employment report and a comparison with the sample week of the April employment report shows further improvement: down 11,000 from April 15 week of 243,000, down 2,000 from 4-week average of 242,750.

The continuing claims side of the report tells the same story, down 22,000 in lagging data for the May 6 week to 1.898 million. This is a 29-year low for this reading. The 4-week average is down 20,000 to 1.946 million which is a 43-year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers (which excludes job leavers and re-entrants) is at 1.4 percent.

There are no special factors in today's report, one that puts the first piece in place for what looks to be another healthy employment report for May.

Consensus Outlook
Jobless claims have been very low and pointing to unusually strong demand for labor. Forecasters sees initial claims coming in at 240,000 in the May 13 week vs 236,000 in the prior 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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