2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 12/14/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk12/9, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level236 K239 K225 K to 240 K225 K
4-week Moving Average - Level241.50 K234.75 K
New Claims - Change-2 K-11 K

The first indication on the December labor market is very favorable. Initial claims fell 11,000 in the December 9 week to 225,000 which easily beats Econoday's consensus for 239,000. The drop comes despite still high totals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico where claims, at 5,740 in the latest week, remain about 4,000 higher than normal though down from earlier weeks including the December 2 week when claims from the territory totaled 7,281.

Continuing claims in lagging data for the December 2 week are likewise favorable, down 27,000 to 1.886 million which takes the unemployment rate for insured workers down 1 tenth to a very low 1.3 percent.

All the readings in this report outside of Puerto Rico are very low and point to a labor market that is at, or is very near, full employment.

Consensus Outlook
Initial claims are expected to come in at 239,000 in the December 9 week vs 236,000 in the December 2 week. After coming down sharply in the prior week, claims from Puerto Rico rose sharply to over 7,000 with the Labor Department warning of remaining backlog from Hurricane Maria.

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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