Unemployment insurance claims data are released every Thursday. This week’s report was a good one: Nationally, the seasonally adjusted number of initial claims fell by 14,000 to 351,000, while the four-week moving average was unchanged at 355,750. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) press release is here. Calculate Risk has charts here.
The numbers for Washington posted this morning by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) were also good. Interpreting claims data on the state level is complicated because there is a pronounced season pattern to claims and seasonally adjusted state numbers are not reported by either DOL or ESD. (It is tricky and time consuming to seasonally adjust weekly data.) ESD reports 9,125 claims for the most recent week, down 1,437 from the same week in 2011. The four-week moving average is 9,552, down 1,455 from 2011. Here is a chart of the four-week moving average prepared by ESD:
While claims remain somewhat above pre-Great Recession levels, the situation is much improved relative to the most recent three years.
ESD data and charts are available here.