Weekly Jobless Claims Post an Unexpected Gain

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The U.S. Labor Department has released another report showing weekly jobless claims, and we saw a more substantial gain than we have become used to seeing in recent weeks and months. In the week ending October 15, the preliminary figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 260,000.

This rise in weekly claims was by 13,000 from the previous week, and that is after the prior report was revised up 1,000 to 247,000 claims. Bloomberg had its consensus estimate at 250,000.

The four-week moving average was 251,750, a gain of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average.

As we have usually seen in more than a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in its press release that no special factors had an impact on this week’s initial claims. And note that the BLS showed this was the 85th consecutive week in which initial jobless claims were under 300,000. That is the longest streak since 1970.

Additional data is reported with a one-week lag. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5% for the week ending October 8. This was unchanged from the prior week.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 8 was 2,057,000. This is the continuing jobless claims, what we refer to as the army of the unemployed. This was a gain of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level (which was revised up 4,000 to 2,050,000).

Weekly jobless claims have not been market-moving for quite some time now. They have reached a low level and will probably only garner media attention if they continue to rise or if we start to get larger pops here and there that become harder to explain other than from seasonal issues.

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