2018 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 2/8/2018 8:30:00 AM For wk2/3, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level230 K235 K230 K to 235 K221 K
4-week Moving Average - Level234.50 K224.50 K
New Claims - Change-1 K-9 K

Initial jobless claims have posted four straight very favorable readings, at 221,000 in the February 3 week which takes the 4-week average to 224,500 and a new 45-year low. The average is down more than 25,000 from early January which points to strengthening conditions in the labor market, specifically to declines in what is already a low level of layoffs.

Continuing claims are also down, 33,000 lower in trailing data for the January 27 week to 1.923 million. This 4-week average is down 12,000 to 1.934 million with the unemployment rate for insured workers unchanged at a very low 1.4 percent.

There are no special factors in today's report, one that follows last week's strong payroll gain in January's employment report and one that offers an early sign of strength for February's report.

Consensus Outlook
After a long spell of volatility, initial claims are expected to come in at 235,000 in the February 3 week in what, after 230,000 and 231,000 in the prior two weeks, would extend the lowest and most stable run since August. Volatile or not, jobless claims have been very low in confirmation that labor demand is strong.

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
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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