Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 395,000 to 400,000 vs the 393,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is up from 396,250 to 405,250. There seems little effect this week due to Hurricane Sandy. The four week average is the highest seen in 2012 - and higher than any other reading since October 2011.
It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is some seasonality which seems to have migrated into the seasonally adjusted data - specifically there is a decline in unemployment in the last third of the year (see bottom graph below). The average year-over-year decline in the initial unemployment claims to date is 9.3%. However, the 4 week average of year-over-year decline is now minus 3.3% showing that the trend on initial unemployment claims is worsening.
This is the highest 4 week moving average claims in over one year.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending November 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 393,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 416,000. The 4-week moving average was 405,250, an increase of 7,500 from the previous week's revised average of 397,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending November 17, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 17 was 3,287,000, a decrease of 70,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,357,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,296,250, an increase of 6,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,290,000.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)