2013 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 1/24/2013 8:30:00 AM For wk1/19, 2013
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level335 K335 K360 K328 K to 375 K330 K
4-week Moving Average - Level359.25 K360.0 K351.75 K
New Claims - Change-37 K-40 K-5 K

Noticeable improvement is underway in the jobs market based on initial jobless claims that, at 330,000 for a 5,000 decline in the January 19 week, are exactly at a five-year low. The four-week average is nearly at a five-year low, down a sizable 8,250 to 351,750 and is trending more than 10,000 below the month-ago level.

Continuing claims, at 3.157 million for a 71,000 decrease in the January 12 week, are at a 4-1/2 year low. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains at 2.5 percent which is also a recovery low.

Though the Labor Department says there's no special factors in today's report, three states were estimated, including California, which does raise the risk of revisions in next week's report. Still, today's report is signaling tangible improvement for the January employment report and should be a major positive for today's stock market.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims in the January 12 week plunged 37,000 to 335,000 for a recovery low and massively below Econoday expectations for 368,000. Although there were no unusual factors skewing the latest data, seasonal adjustments played the biggest role of the year as claims before adjustments were at their highest point of the year. Effects from Hurricane Sandy continue to distort the monthly comparison of the four-week average which further clouds the data's usefulness as a gauge for the monthly employment report. The four-week average is down 6,750 to 359,250 which is about 10,000 below the mid-December level.

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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