2018 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 4/19/2018 8:30:00 AM For wk4/14, 2018
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level233 K230 K225 K to 230 K232 K
4-week Moving Average - Level230.00 K231.25 K
New Claims - Change-9 K-1 K

Highlights
Initial jobless claims are favorable but increasingly less so perhaps, at 232,000 in the April 14 week. This is 5,000 higher than the mid-March reading which offers a sample-week to sample-week comparison for the monthly employment report. A comparison of the 4-week averages is similar, currently at 231,250 which is up more than 6,000.

Continuing claims have not been showing the same movement higher, falling 15,000 in lagging data for the April 7 week to 1.863 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains at a very low 1.3 percent.

But it's not how low unemployment claims are that matters in forecasting the April employment report, it's the direction of claims and initial claims are no longer showing improvement. This uptick, following as it does the sharp downtick in payroll growth in March, will hold down expectations for April payrolls and also April's unemployment rate. There are no special factors in today's report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial claims are not expected to increase in the April 18 week with the consensus at 230,000 in what would be 3,000 decline. The 4-week average has been edging higher though the level remains low and consistent with 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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