2011 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 5/26/2011 8:30:00 AM For wk5/21, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level409 K404 K395 K to 420 K424 K
4-week Moving Average - Level439.0 K440.25 K438.5 K

With no special factors to blame, initial jobless claims rose 10,000 in the May 21 week to a 424,000 level that's 20,000 higher than expected. Revision to the May 14 week is also a negative, up 5,000 to 414,000. The Labor Department isn't citing any weather or auto-related factors for the results. The four-week average of 438,500 is nearly 30,000 higher than a month ago in a comparison that points to trouble for the May employment report. Even the four-week average for continuing claims is higher, at 3.742 million in data for the May 14 week vs 3.702 million in mid April. Stock futures are moving off early gains following this report and following a softer-than-expected revision to first-quarter GDP.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims in the May 14 week fell 29,000 to 409,000, following the prior week's 40,000 decline. Auto and weather effects were no more than isolated in the week's data which saw the four-week average only very slightly higher at 439,000.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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