1st Time Unemployment Claims Shrug Off Florence; Resume Downward Slope

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 207,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended September 28 a DROP of 8.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised report (214,000 to 215,000);
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims ROSE 500 to 207,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.133 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from the previous week
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,650,000 for the week ended September 21, DOWN 13,000 from the previous week’s upwardly REVISED 1,645,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 15,250 to 1,654,500.

Trends:

  • Four-week moving average of continued claims has now declined for eight straight weeks
  • Four-week moving average of continued claims is at its lowest level since October 27, 1973 (1,664,250).
  • The year-to-date average of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 234,560 – 5 percent below the level of a year ago;

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for employment insurance

On the eve of yet another employment situation release, initial claims for unemployment insurance shrugged off the impact of Hurricane Florence by resuming its downward trajectory.

Indeed, one of the two states most affected by Florence showed a sharp decrease in first-time claims for unemployment insurance. The raw numbers (not seasonally adjusted) for North Carolina showed claims dropped 4,783, all but reversing the 8,035 increase a week ago, the first week after the storm. South Carolina which had an increase of 1,899 first time claims in the first week after the storm, had an increase of 939 claims last week.

As a predictor of the employment reports for September, the four-week moving average of initial claims dropped 7,750 from mid-August to the middle of last month, suggesting a further decline in unemployment. The unemployment rate is based not only on the level of unemployment however but on the change in the labor force.

The four-week moving average of continued claims for unemployment insurance, a surrogate for jobs, dropped 52,000 month-month which should translate into a strong jobs report. The month-month change was the largest since May when the four-week average of continued claims fell 124,000. The number of payroll jobs jumped 268,000 in May, the second highest monthly increase since President Trump took

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

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