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Takeaway: Labor market improvement slowed this week, and energy states continue to deteriorate versus the US as a whole.

Below is the detailed breakdown of this morning's initial claims data from Joshua Steiner and the Hedgeye Financials team. If you would like to setup a call with Josh or Jonathan or trial their research, please contact 

This week's jobless claims show a slowdown in labor market improvement. Seasonally adjusted claims rose 31k week over week to 313k, exceeding consensus (290k) by 23k.  Additionally, the year-over-year change in NSA claims slowed for the first time in five weeks to -12.2% from -14.9%.  As a reminder, we would expect that the rate of change y/y will converge towards zero by the middle of this year as claims are at/near their frictional ~300k floor.  For more on this, see our note HERE.

The labor market in energy states, meanwhile, continues to deteriorate relative to the rest of the country.  Even as oil prices have bounced modestly off their recent $45 lows, their sustained low level inflicts pain on energy-heavy states. In the first chart below, the gap between our energy state basket and the US as a whole widened slightly from 26 to 27.  

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The Data 

Prior to revision, initial jobless claims rose 30k to 313k from 283k WoW, as the prior week's number was revised down by -1k to 282k.

The headline (unrevised) number shows claims were higher by 31k WoW. Meanwhile, the 4-week rolling average of seasonally-adjusted claims rose 11.5k WoW to 294.5k.

The 4-week rolling average of NSA claims, another way of evaluating the data, was -12.2% lower YoY, which is a sequential deterioration versus the previous week's YoY change of -14.9%

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Joshua Steiner, CFA

Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT