U.S. Jobless Claims Rise To 7 Week High Of 234,000

by Ike Obudulu Posted on May 24th, 2018

Washington, D.C., USA: Initial jobless claims rose by 11,000 to a seven-week high of 234,000 in the week ended May 19, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday said Thursday in it’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits – known as continuing claims – increased by 29,000 to 1.74 million.

The monthly average of claims, meanwhile, rose by 6,250 to 219,750.

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims –  Seasonally Adjusted Data

In the week ending May 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 234,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 222,000 to 223,000. The 4-week moving average was 219,750, an increase of 6,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 213,250 to 213,500.

Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending May 12, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 12 was 1,741,000, an increase of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 5,000 from 1,707,000 to 1,712,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,751,750, a decrease of 23,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 15, 1973 when it was 1,735,750. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,250 from 1,773,750 to 1,775,000.

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims –  Unadjusted Data

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 206,868 in the week ending May 19, an increase of 11,654 (or 6.0 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 1,560 (or 0.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 210,544 initial claims in the comparable week in 2017.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent during the week ending May 12, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 1,603,049, an increase of 7,800 (or 0.5 percent) from the preceding week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 18,828 (or -1.2 percent) from the previous week. A year earlier the rate was 1.3 percent and the volume was 1,783,911.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending May 5 was 1,622,790, a decrease of 131,087 from the previous week. There were 1,819,526 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2017.

Extended benefits were payable in the Virgin Islands during the week ending May 5.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 600 in the week ending May 12, a decrease of 1 from the prior week. There were 947 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 18 from the preceding week.

There were 7,264 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending May 5, a decrease of 1,470 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 7,602, a decrease of 278 from the prior week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 5 were in the Virgin Islands (4.3), Alaska (2.9), New Jersey (2.1), California (1.9), Connecticut (1.9), Puerto Rico (1.9), Illinois (1.6), Pennsylvania (1.6), and Rhode Island(1.5).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 12 were in Missouri (+3,852), Kentucky (+2,980), Alabama (+1,082), Michigan (+660), and Mississippi (+326), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-1,378),Ohio (-1,247), New York (-1,004), Arizona (-512), and Oregon (-434).

Why Markets Care About Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims – also called  Jobless Claims or Initial Claims – measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time during the past week.

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims is the nation’s earliest economic data. The market impact fluctuates from week to week – there tends to be more focus on the release when traders need to diagnose recent developments, or when the reading is at extremes.

The usual effect is that if ‘Actual’ is less than ‘Forecast’, it is good for the dollar and vice versa.

Markets care because although it’s generally viewed as a lagging indicator, the number of unemployed people is an important signal of overall economic health since consumer spending is highly correlated with labor-market conditions. Unemployment is also a major consideration for those steering the country’s monetary policy;

Author

Ike Obudulu

Ike Obudulu

Versatile Certified Fraud Examiner, Chartered Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor with an MBA in Finance And Investments who has both worked for and consulted with some of the world's largest companies on main street and wall street in over 20 countries, Ike brings his extensive reporting and investigations experience to bear on his role as Chief Editor.
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