Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 365,000 to 375,000 vs the 350,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is down from 367,750 (reported last week) to 356,750.
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 5.4% lower (down from 3.4% last week) than they were in this week in 2011.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending December 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 362,000. The 4-week moving average was 356,750, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average of 368,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending December 15, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 15 was 3,206,000, a decrease of 32,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,238,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,219,000, a decrease of 24,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,243,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2010 (blue line), 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line)