IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Revisiting the use of initial jobless claims as a labor market indicator


  • John Carter Braxton


Initial jobless claims provide a weekly snapshot of the labor market. While known for being volatile, when put into the appropriate context initial claims can provide valuable information on the upcoming employment report. This paper introduces a new labor market indicator, referred to as the threshold of initial jobless claims, that serves as a benchmark of comparison for the weekly reporting of initial jobless claims. The threshold incorporates multiple margins of the labor market such as hires, quits, layoffs, and labor force participation. Deviations of observed initial claims from the threshold are shown to provide accurate estimates of the upcoming change in the unemployment rate. Labor market followers can then make weekly comparisons of observed initial claims to the threshold to gain an updated understanding on the current state of the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • John Carter Braxton, 2013. "Revisiting the use of initial jobless claims as a labor market indicator," Research Working Paper RWP 13-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp13-03

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin L. Kliesen & Michael W. McCracken & Linpeng Zheng, 2011. "Initial claims and employment growth: are we at the threshold?," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Kevin L. Kliesen & David C. Wheelock, 2012. "How well do initial claims forecast employment growth over the business cycle and over time?," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. William T. Gavin & Kevin L. Kliesen, 2002. "Unemployment insurance claims and economic activity," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 15-28.
    4. Robert G. Valletta & Katherine Kuang, 2011. "Recent layoffs in a fragile labor market," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue sep26.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp13-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lu Dayrit). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.