April 24, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (042414): 329K SA; Good Friday-Influenced Raw Claims Down 6.6% From Previous Week (UPDATE: A Strong March Durable Goods Report)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:43 am


  • Bloomberg — “Initial jobless claims probably increased, a Labor Department report may show.” Thanks for nothing, guys.
  • Business Insider — 313,000 seasonally adjusted claims, up from 304,000 last week.

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended April 19, 2014 — 90.6
  • Week ended April 20, 2013 — 95.2

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended April 12, 2014 — 317,701 (before likely revision)
  • Week ended April 20, 2013 — 326,264

For Business Insider’s prediction to hold, raw claims will need to be 284,000 or lower (284K divided by .906 is 313K, rounded).

That raw claims figure would be  about 11 percent below last week’s raw claims before revision. While that may seem unrealistic, the wild card is that last week contained Good Friday, when  many state offices, including unemployment offices, were closed. It also could be that some data submissions are late, in which case the Department of Labor normally estimates what they would have been.

If Good Friday has no impact, seasonally adjusted claims could easily come in as high as 351K (the result of replicating last week’s raw claims with this week’s seasonal adjustment factor) or even higher. If it has a great deal of impact, Business Insider’s prediction might hold.

We’ll see here (PDF) at 8:30 a.m.



In the week ending April 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 304,000 to 305,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 312,000


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 297,870 in the week ending April 19, a decrease of 20,923 (or -6.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 42,668 (or -13.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 326,264 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

So the result came in somewhat below the midpoint for best and worst-case scenarios.

It’s hard to evaluate this given the unknown effect of Good Friday. The relatively small size of the dip compared to what the seasonal factor would have predicted certainly isn’t a reason for overconfidence from the “things are getting better” crowd, but it’s hard to go much further than that.


UPDATE: In other econ news, durable goods went up a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent in March. Though the result was heavily influenced by a very good month for aircraft, the rest of the categories were still pretty strong.


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