Weekly Unemployment Claims: 1.2M New Claims, Down from Last Week

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

COVID-19 Impact
The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment. This report includes information on claimants filing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.

In the week ending August 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,186,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 1,434,000 to 1,435,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,337,750, a decrease of 31,000 from the previous week's revised average.

The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 1,368,500 to 1,368,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.0 percent for the week ending July 25, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 25 was 16,107,000, a decrease of 844,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 67,000 from 17,018,000 to 16,951,000. The 4-week moving average was 16,628,250, a decrease of 413,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 16,750 from 17,058,250 to 17,041,500. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 1.19M new claims, down 250K from the previous week's revised figure, was better than the Investing.com forecast of 1.42M.

Here is a close look at the data over the decade (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession.

Unemployment Claims since 2007

As we can see, there's a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

Unemployment Claims

The headline Unemployment Insurance data is seasonally adjusted. What does the non-seasonally adjusted data look like? See the chart below, which clearly shows the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data (the red dots). The 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change (note, for example, those regular January spikes).