While Unemployment Claims Only Slightly Decrease, Next Week’s Estimate Is ‘Already Bullish’

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Weekly jobless claims resumed their downward trend in the week ending February 19, as the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 232,000. This represents a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the Labor Department.

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The median estimate called for 235,000 applications in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

In addition, the previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 248,000 to 249,000. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility, was 236,250, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 to 243,500 from 243,250.  

To put this weekly figure in context, the corresponding week last year, jobless claims were at 747,000, according to Labor Department data.

Jeanniey Walden, CMO of DailyPay, told GOBankingRates that with the Russian invasion of Ukraine taking center stage, this morning’s economic releases may not garner their usual attention.

“Nonetheless, if you follow the labor market, you’ll want to see the latest BLS report. While headline jobless claims came in marginally below consensus at 232 thousand, the real news was that continuing claims dropped to 1.48 million, well below estimates and the lowest level since 1970,” Walden said, noting, “The velocity of the labor market continues to accelerate as workers who are let go are quickly finding new employment. Similarly, the pace of voluntary quits is accelerating while involuntary attrition continues to slow, as employers struggle to maintain payrolls without cutting service.”

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“Estimates for next week’s February jobs report are already bullish and this may push the whisper payrolls number up even further,” she added.

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For the previous week- the week ending Feb. 12, the largest increases in initial claims for the week were in Missouri (+7,253), Ohio (+5,392), Kentucky (+4,555), Tennessee (+1,737), and Illinois (+1,488), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-1,688), California (-1,618), Wisconsin (-1,034), New Jersey (-941), and Connecticut (-747), according to Labor Department data.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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