Thursday, March 19, 2020

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims Increase to 281,000

by Calculated Risk on 3/19/2020 08:35:00 AM

Note: Claims for this week (reported next Thursday) will be extremely high.

The DOL reported:

In the week ending March 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 281,000, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 211,000. This is the highest level for initial claims since September 2, 2017 when it was 299,000. The 4-week moving average was 232,250, an increase of 16,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the highest level for this average since January 27, 2018 when it was 234,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,750 from 214,000 to 215,750.
emphasis added
The previous week was unrevised.

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

Click on graph for larger image.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased to 232,250.

This was lower than the consensus forecast.

Note: Companies have just started announcing layoffs related to COVID-19. So we should expect weekly claims to increase to record levels next week.