The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by nine thousand to 221 thousand in the week ended February 3rd, 2018, well below market expectations of 232 thousand. It is the lowest value in three weeks. Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
The 4-week moving average was 224,500, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 234,500. This is the lowest level for this average since March 10, 1973, when it was 222,000.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the biggest decreases in initial claims were seen in Missouri (-7,636); California (-4,767); NY (-3,742); Georgia (-1,983); Pennsylvania (-1,579) and Connecticut (-1,506). Claims in Puerto Rice fell by 159 and in Virgin Islands by 27.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending January 27, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
Continuing claims during the week ending January 27 were at 1,923,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 3,000 from 1,953,000 to 1,956,000.
The 4-week moving average was 1,946,000, an increase of 12,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 1,932,750 to 1,933,500.