Weekly Unemployment Claims: Up 3K, Slightly Worse Than Forecast

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending June 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 241,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 237,000 to 238,000. The 4-week moving average was 244,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 243,000 to 243,250. [See full report]

Today's seasonally adjusted 241K new claims, up 3K from last week's revised number, was slightly worse than the Investing.com forecast of 240K.

Here is a close look at the data over the past few years (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession and the volatility in recent months.

Unemployment Claims since 2007

As we can see, there's a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

Unemployment Claims

The headline Unemployment Insurance data is seasonally adjusted. What does the non-seasonally adjusted data look like? See the chart below, which clearly shows the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data (the red dots). The 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change (note, for example, those regular January spikes).

Nonseasonally Adjusted Claims