A weekly report published by the U.S. Department of Labor that shows how many people have filed initial claims for unemployment insurance. The report is published on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. eastern time. A four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance is created in order to smooth out the volatile weekly figures. The report also includes the number of continuing claims for unemployment insurance and the insured unemployment rate. If initial filings move above the benchmark 400,000 level, the labor market is said to be contracting. The jobless claims report is useful because it gives a timely picture of the economy. It also breaks out information by state, however that information may have a lag period. The report’s usefulness is limited because weekly claims are very volatile and the data can be affected by holidays. The report has very little industry-specific information. Although the jobless claims report is watched by the financial markets, it has a lower profile than the monthly non-farm payroll report, or the unemployment report, as it is referred to in the non-business press.