Initial Jobless Claims is a report issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on a weekly basis. The employment situation is extremely important for a macroeconomic analysis, so the financial markets track employment indicators, although this is a low impact indicator compared with the monthly BLS’s “Employment Report”. This report tracks how many new people have filed for unemployment benefits in the previous week. It is a good gauge of the U.S. job market. For instance, when more people file for unemployment benefits, fewer people have jobs, and vice versa. Investors can use this report to gather pertinent information about the economy, but it’s a very volatile data, so the four-week average of jobless claims is monitored.
What is ‘Jobless Claims’
The number of people who are filing or have filed to receive unemployment insurance benefits, as reported weekly by the U.S. Department of Labor. There are two categories of jobless claims – initial, which comprises people filing for the first time, and continuing, which consists of unemployed people who have been receiving unemployment benefits for a while. Jobless claims are an important leading indicator on the state of the employment situation and the health of the economy. Average weekly initial jobless claims are one of the 10 components of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index.
Explaining ‘Jobless Claims’
Initial jobless claims, rather than continuing claims, are closely watched by financial market participants, since a sustained increase would indicate rising unemployment and a challenging economic environment. Since initial jobless claims may be volatile from week to week, the four-week moving average of jobless claims is also observed to get a better indication of the underlying trend.
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