Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 375,000 vs the 343,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is up from 408,000 (reported last week) to 381,500. The four week average higher than any other reading since June 2012.
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 1.2% lower (down from -4.3% last week) than they were in this week in 2011.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending December 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 343,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 372,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,500, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised average of 408,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending December 1, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 1 was 3,198,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,221,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,270,750, a decrease of 42,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,313,000.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)