Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 7K
Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:
In the week ending February 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 222,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 230,000 to 229,000. The 4-week moving average was 226,000, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 228,500 to 228,250.
Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal. [See full report]
Today's seasonally adjusted 222K new claims, down 7K from last week's revised figure, was below the Investing.com forecast of 230K.
Here is a close look at the data over the decade (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession.
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.
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).