Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 1K, Slightly Worse Than Forecast

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending April 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 232,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,250, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 230,000.

Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 2323K new claims, down 1K from the previous week's figure, was slightly above 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.

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).