2018 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 1/11/2018 8:30:00 AM For wk1/6, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level250 K245 K240 K to 270 K261 K
4-week Moving Average - Level241.75 K250.75 K
New Claims - Change3 K11 K

In what might be an early sign of loosening in the labor market, initial jobless claims rose 11,000 in the January 6 week to a higher-than-expected 261,000. The gain is widespread and not centered in Puerto Rico where claims, at 1,778, are down about 500 in the latest week and back to pre-hurricane levels. Only one state, Maine, was estimated in the week. The 4-week average, at 250,750, is up a steep 9,000 in the week and is roughly 15,000 above the month-ago trend which offers an early hint of trouble for the January employment report.

In data for the last week of December, continuing claims showed improvement, down 35,000 to 1.867 million which is a new 44-year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers is down 1 tenth to 1.3 percent.

Initial claims, aside from hurricane distortions in September and October, were remarkably steady and favorable throughout last year which makes the gain in the first week of this year stand out. Next week's initial claims data will be very closely watched and will track the sample week of the January employment report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial claims are expected to come in at 245,000 in the January 6 week vs 250,000 in the prior week. Claims have been very low and favorable and consistent with very 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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