Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 17,000 From the Previous Week
The Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report was released this morning for last week.
In the week ending Dec. 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 421,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 438,000. The 4-week moving average was 427,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 431,500.
As we can see, there’s a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (shown in the callouts) is a more useful number than the weekly data.
Occasionally I see articles critical of seasonal adjustment, especially when the non-adjusted number better suits the author’s bias. But a comparison of these two charts clearly shows extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data, and the 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change in the second chart (note, for example, those regular January spikes).
Doug Short Ph.d is the author of dshort.com.
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