The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle

Note: We've updated this commentary to include the latest labor force data in Friday morning's employment report.


Every week we post an update on new unemployment claims shortly after the BLS report is made available. Our focus is the four-week moving average of this rather volatile indicator. The financial press generally takes a fairly simplistic view of the latest number, and the market often reacts, for a few minutes or a few hours, to the initial estimate, which is always revised the following week.

One of our featured charts in the update shows the four-week moving average from the inception of this series in January 1967.