1st-time Unemployment Insurance Claims Edge Down but Data Hint at Weaker Jobs Report

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 212,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended October 19, 2019, a DECREASE of6,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 218,000 (from 214,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims DROPPED 750 to 215,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.137 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,682,000 for the week ended October 12, DOWN 1,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,683,000 (from 1,679,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 6,500 to 1,677,250;

Trends:

  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell has increased for three straight weeks
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell for the first time in four weeks;
  • Wee-week, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance has fallen only twice since mid-August;

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment depression

On the strength of declines in first-time claims (not seasonally adjusted) in two auto-manufacturing states, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell for the week ended October 19 according to the Department of Labor.

Despite the week-week improvement though the claims reports (both initial and continued) suggest another weak jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on November 1.

From mid-month to mid-month, first time claims rose 8,000 and the four-week moving average of initial claims went up 3,000, a sign of increased layoffs, though likely not enough to move the 3.5 percent unemployment rate.

And, on the jobs front, continued claims for unemployment insurance rose 27,000 from mid-September to mid-October while the four-week moving average of continued claims rose 14,000. Both numbers suggest employers are not creating jobs to lift individuals off the unemployment rolls.

The unemployment claims report – more importantly its trend – is another indicator of a weakening economy though the level of both initial and continued claims remains near historic lows.

You can hear Mark Lieberman Friday mornings at 6:20 am on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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