Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 382,000 to 385,000 vs the 370,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is up from 405,250 (reported last week) to 408,000. The four week average continues to be 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 initial claims are 4.3% higher (up from 3.3% last week) than they were in this week in 2011.
This is the highest 4 week moving average claims in over one year.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending December 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, a decrease of 25,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 395,000. The 4-week moving average was 408,000, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 405,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending November 24, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 24 was 3,205,000, a decrease of 100,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,305,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,309,000, an increase of 7,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,301,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)