Browsing Posts tagged unemployment

Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims (4-Week Moving Average) thru Week Ending November 15, 2014 – Easy Trends

In this article, I’ll do an “Easy Trends” analysis of the initial weekly unemployment claims data.  “Easy Trends” is a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for an indicator and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither.  You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest unemployment claims trend analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

By tracking the number of people who are filing for unemployment benefits for the first time each week, we get a quick insight into the latest status of the economy’s health.  Fewer claims equals more jobs, which equals more income, which usually equals more consumer spending (70% of the economy!) that supports company profits, which in turn can lead to more hiring.

Quick Version of Easy Trends Analysis

For the Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims series, I will be doing only a brief update as long as the level of claims is nice and low (below 350,000) and there isn’t a confirmed upward trend (which is undesirable of course). I will only call out a few specific statistics that I like to track. I’ll be tracking the trends, but it takes a lot of time to do the post, so I won’t do a post with the full analysis unless there is any cause for concern. Bottom Line: If you’re seeing my “quick version” of this analysis – don’t be worried about weekly jobless claims!

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims: 287,500   (good - we want this number to be below 350,000)

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims as a percent of the total size of the nation’s workforce: 0.18 percent   (good)

Current Trend: Unconfirmed upward trend with 86 percent confidence.   (Bad – let’s see if it gets confirmed)

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Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims (4-Week Moving Average) thru Week Ending November 8, 2014 – Easy Trends

In this article, I’ll do an “Easy Trends” analysis of the initial weekly unemployment claims data.  “Easy Trends” is a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for an indicator and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither.  You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest unemployment claims trend analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

By tracking the number of people who are filing for unemployment benefits for the first time each week, we get a quick insight into the latest status of the economy’s health.  Fewer claims equals more jobs, which equals more income, which usually equals more consumer spending (70% of the economy!) that supports company profits, which in turn can lead to more hiring.

Quick Version of Easy Trends Analysis

For the Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims series, I will be doing only a brief update as long as the level of claims is nice and low (below 350,000) and there isn’t a confirmed upward trend (which is undesirable of course). I will only call out a few specific statistics that I like to track. I’ll be tracking the trends, but it takes a lot of time to do the post, so I won’t do a post with the full analysis unless there is any cause for concern. Bottom Line: If you’re seeing my “quick version” of this analysis – don’t be worried about weekly jobless claims!

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims: 285,000   (good - we want this number to be below 350,000)

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims as a percent of the total size of the nation’s workforce: 0.18 percent   (good)

Current Trend: No current trend with at least 50 percent confidence. Previous downward trend of about 4,000 fewer claims per month ended as of Oct 18   (TBD – ? direction)

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Employment Report – Nonfarm Payrolls – Easy Trends (thru October 2014)

Employment report figures are perhaps the most closely tracked economic numbers of all. I’m continuing a feature called “Easy Trends” – a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for the nonfarm payrolls from the monthly employment report and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither. You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis. Please visit my latest Employment Report trend analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

Nonfarm payrolls, a component of the employment report called “Employment Situation Summary,” is meant to measure the number of jobs in the economy except for those in the farming industry. The large ups and downs in farming make it harder to see the true underlying trend, so jobs in that sector are excluded. What people usually focus on is the change in nonfarm payrolls from the previous month. We typically want to see something above 150,000 during average economic times. (Easy Intro to Nonfarm Payrolls)

Nonfarm payrolls from the employment report is meant to measure the number of jobs in the economy except for those in the farming industry. The large ups and downs in farming make it harder to see the true underlying trend, so jobs in that sector are excluded. What people usually focus on is the change in nonfarm payrolls from the employment report for the previous month. We typically want to see something above 150,000 during average economic times. You can read more in my Easy Intro to Nonfarm Payrolls.

I have decided to analyze the two different methods the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses in estimating the number of new nonfarm payroll jobs added per month in its employment report. The one that most articles quote is from the “Payroll Survey” (a survey of businesses). The second one is from the “Household Survey” (survey of households, duh!). Because the “Household Survey” includes a whole bunch of workers who aren’t included in the “Payroll Survey” the BLS has to adjust the data a bit to help them match up. In the end, they should track each other fairly well. Nevertheless, I felt it would be helpful to look at the trends from both of them. In fact, my personal preference is to look at the average of the two surveys to get a better estimate of the true trend of job creation.

Below is a graph showing the trends in both the “Payroll Survey” and the “Household Survey” after adjustments were made to the latter to represent a similar population. As you can see, they track each other fairly well after adjustments (see the unadjusted data in a line that’s way above the others):

Employment Report - Nonfarm Payrolls Payroll and Household thru October 2014

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Report Trends and Projections

Below, I will discuss whether the nonfarm payrolls number from the employment report is currently in a trend, when the last confirmed trend was and what that says about projecting the next data point to be released. I typically start my analysis from three years ago. continue reading…

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Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims (4-Week Moving Average) thru Week Ending November 1, 2014 – Easy Trends

In this article, I’ll do an “Easy Trends” analysis of the initial weekly unemployment claims data.  “Easy Trends” is a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for an indicator and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither.  You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest unemployment claims trend analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

By tracking the number of people who are filing for unemployment benefits for the first time each week, we get a quick insight into the latest status of the economy’s health.  Fewer claims equals more jobs, which equals more income, which usually equals more consumer spending (70% of the economy!) that supports company profits, which in turn can lead to more hiring.

Quick Version of Easy Trends Analysis

For the Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims series, I will be doing only a brief update as long as the level of claims is nice and low (below 350,000) and there isn’t a confirmed upward trend (which is undesirable of course). I will only call out a few specific statistics that I like to track. I’ll be tracking the trends, but it takes a lot of time to do the post, so I won’t do a post with the full analysis unless there is any cause for concern. Bottom Line: If you’re seeing my “quick version” of this analysis – don’t be worried about weekly jobless claims!

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims: 279,000   (good - we want this number to be below 350,000)

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims as a percent of the total size of the nation’s workforce: 0.18 percent   (good)

Current Trend: Confirmed downward trend of about 4,000 fewer claims per month, but two latest readings were both too high to include in that trend   (good – right direction)

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Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims (4-Week Moving Average) thru Week Ending October 25, 2014 – Easy Trends

In this article, I’ll do an “Easy Trends” analysis of the initial weekly unemployment claims data.  “Easy Trends” is a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for an indicator and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither.  You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest unemployment claims trend analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

By tracking the number of people who are filing for unemployment benefits for the first time each week, we get a quick insight into the latest status of the economy’s health.  Fewer claims equals more jobs, which equals more income, which usually equals more consumer spending (70% of the economy!) that supports company profits, which in turn can lead to more hiring.

Quick Version of Easy Trends Analysis

For the Initial Weekly Unemployment Claims series, I will be doing only a brief update as long as the level of claims is nice and low (below 350,000) and there isn’t a confirmed upward trend (which is undesirable of course). I will only call out a few specific statistics that I like to track. I’ll be tracking the trends, but it takes a lot of time to do the post, so I won’t do a post with the full analysis unless there is any cause for concern. Bottom Line: If you’re seeing my “quick version” of this analysis – don’t be worried about weekly jobless claims!

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims: 281,000   (good - we want this number to be below 350,000)

4-week moving average of weekly initial unemployment claims as a percent of the total size of the nation’s workforce: 0.18 percent   (good)

Current Trend: Confirmed downward trend of about 4,000 fewer claims per month, but latest reading too high to include in that trend   (good – right direction)

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GDP (Real Gross Domestic Product) – Easy Trends (Advance Estimate Q3 2014)

GDP (or Real Gross Domestic Product) is the accepted measure of overall economic activity, so we should care which way it’s trending.  I’m continuing a feature called “Easy Trends” – a place where I’ll analyze the recent trend for real GDP and discuss whether it is currently going up, down or neither.  You can read the basics of my methodology on the FAQ page.

NOTE: You may be reading an outdated analysis.  Please visit my latest GDP trends analysis for more info.

Quick ‘n Easy

Real GDP is simply the broadest and most widely accepted measure of economic activity.  Even though there are specific details of it that many dispute, you can typically be assured that if this number is increasing consistently, things are going well in the economy.

You can read my Easy Intro to GDP for more information on what the Gross Domestic Product represents.  Suffice it to say, it’s a broad measure of economic activity.  If this number is growing, it is generally a good sign.  We probably want to see levels up in the 3 to 3.5 percent annual growth range for signs of an economy that’s growing at a healthy pace.  When the unemployment rate is too high, however, you need to have even more growth than that to put a dent in the unemployment figure.

Here’s a historical chart of real GDP annualized growth rate for each quarter from Doug Short, including lines that show the historical average growth rate and the “best fit” line:

Real GDP Q3 2014 Advance Estimate - Doug Short

Courtesy: AdvisorPerspectives.com/Dshort/

GDP Trends and Projections

Below, I will discuss whether real GDP (real gross domestic product) is currently in a trend, when the last confirmed trend was and what that says about projecting the next data point to be released.  I typically start my analysis from three years ago. continue reading…

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