Thursday, February 9, 2023

As Holiday seasonality disappears, initial jobless claims turn higher YoY


 - by New Deal democrat

Initial jobless claims rose 13,000 last week to 196,000. The four week moving average declined -7,500 to 189,250. Continuing claims increased 38,000 to 1,688,000. Below I show all three since initial claims first fell below 300,000 in late October 2021:

Because seasonality played such a role in January’s jobs report, here are initial claims non-seasonally adjusted (red) as well as the seasonally adjusted number:

This week was the first time since Christmas week that the number of layoffs was not heavily affected by the fact that workers who weren’t hired for the Holiday season couldn’t be laid off once it was over. Note that the spike for the five weeks of January for 2022 only partially materialized this year. 

And that, as it turns out, is significant, as shown in the below graph of the YoY% changes in initial and continuing claims:

For the week, initial claims are now higher YoY, for the first time since December. It will take a couple more weeks before we know if the underlying trend truly is higher. Remember that there is no recession signal unless and until claims, particularly on a four week average basis, are higher at least by 10% YoY. Hence the starting point when claims first fell below 300,000 in the graphs.