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Auto Industry: Analyzing Jobless Claims in November

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Jobless claims fell in November

According to data released for the week ending November 25, 2017, initial jobless claims’ SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) stood at 238,000. The data, released on November 30, didn’t show any major change from jobless claims’ SAAR the previous week, which stood at 240,000.

The US Department of Labor publishes initial jobless claims on a weekly basis. The data track employment conditions and tell us how many people filed for unemployment benefits the previous week. The data are a measure of strength or weakness in the labor market.

The data on a non-seasonally adjusted basis suggested that 224,208 US citizens claimed unemployment insurance last week. In comparison, 274,968 individuals claimed unemployment insurance the previous week.

Understanding 4-week average

As you can see in the above chart, jobless claims’ four-week moving average is on a downward trajectory. For the week ending November 25, it was at 242,250—not far from its 44-year low. One week is a very short period to rely on when analyzing the prevailing trend. As a result, investors usually prefer the four-week average for jobless claims to avoid statistical noise.

In general, jobless claims less than 300,000 tend to reflect a strong job market. A recent fall in the four-week average could be a positive indicator of auto demand.

A strong jobs market boosts the growth prospects in the auto industry (XLY) for companies including Ford (F), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), General Motors (GM), and Toyota (TM).

Next, we’ll take a look at Wall Street analysts’ expectations from November’s non-farm payroll data.

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