2018 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 4/12/2018 8:30:00 AM For wk4/7, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level242 K230 K225 K to 232 K233 K
4-week Moving Average - Level228.25 K230.00 K
New Claims - Change24 K-9 K

Highlights
Jobless claims decreased 9,000 in the April 7 week to 233,000 but are still trending slightly higher in what may be, at least possibly, a negative signal for the labor market. The 4-week average is at 230,000 which is roughly 10,000 above the month-ago trend. Readings in the 230,000 range, though very low and consistent with strong demand for labor, may mark a modest shift higher for layoffs which would be of no major concern if not for the slowing seen in March payroll growth to 103,000 following a long stretch averaging about 200,000 per month.

One factor that will limit the effect on expectations is that April, because of Easter shifts, can be a difficult time for adjustments. Still the rise underway in initial claims, though minimal, is not a positive for the outlook on the April employment report.

Continuing claims rose 53,000 to 1.871 million in lagging data for the March 31 week in a rise mitigated by a 2,000 decline in this 4-week average to 1.850 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains very low, at only 1.3 percent for the 6th reading in a row. There were no special factors in the week with, for the first time in a long time, no states estimated.

Consensus Outlook
Initial claims are expected to come in at 230,000 in the April 7 week vs an outsized jump to 242,000 in the prior week. Even at 242,000, claims have been consistent with minimal layoffs and strong demand for labor.

Definition
New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

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