2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 12/21/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk12/16, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level225 K234 K230 K to 240 K245 K
4-week Moving Average - Level234.75 K236.00 K
New Claims - Change-11 K20 K

Jobless claims moved higher in a report that nevertheless points to strength for the December employment report. Initial claims rose a sharp 20,000 to a higher-than-expected 245,000 in the December 16 week, a week that was also the sampling period for monthly employment. But a comparison with the November sampling period shows little change, only a 5,000 gain, while the comparison of the 4-week averages actually shows improvement, down 4,000 to 236,000.

Hurricane effects in Puerto Rico continue to inflate the total by a couple of thousand though this effect continues to ebb with initial claims in the latest week down about 1,500 to 4,524 which however is still double than normal. Total continuing claims rose 43,000 in lagging data for the December 9 week to 1.932 million with the unemployment rate for insured workers moving higher but still very low at 1.4 percent. Generally, that's the story of today's report: claims moving higher but from very low levels that are still consistent with unusual strength in the labor market.

Consensus Outlook
Initial claims are expected to come in at 234,000 in the December 16 week vs 225,000 in the December 9 week. Claims have been very low and very favorable though Puerto Rico, and the backlog effects of Hurricane Maria, have been inflating the total by several thousand.

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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