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Claims data this morning worsened. Claims climbed 18k week over week to 460k on a seasonally adjusted basis (after last week’s number was revised up 3k to 442k).  The 4-week rolling average rose 2,250 to 450,250.  Consensus had expected just 442k initial claims.  The chart below shows the rolling average trend line. 

CLAIMS WORSEN, REVERSING FIVE-WEEK TREND - claims rolling

After approaching our 3 standard deviation channel for the last three weeks, this week’s data moved away from its upper bound.   A Labor Department official noted that seasonal factors relating to Easter (which is hard to correct for, since it moves on the calendar) likely had an impact on this week’s numbers. Looking forward, we continue to expect claims to move lower in the coming months as we see the tailwind associated with Census hiring kicking in. 

CLAIMS WORSEN, REVERSING FIVE-WEEK TREND - claims raw

As a reminder, the following chart shows census hiring from the 2000 and 1990 census by month, which should be a reasonable proxy for hiring this spring. 

CLAIMS WORSEN, REVERSING FIVE-WEEK TREND - census chart

Joshua Steiner, CFA

Managing Director