Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 360,000 to 365,000 vs the 366,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is marginally down from 352,000 (reported last week) to 350,500.
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 5.8% lower (slightly degrading from 6.6% last week) than they were in this week in 2012. Claims remain elevated from the trend lines seen for most of 2012.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending February 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 366,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 371,000. The 4-week moving average was 350,500, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 352,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending January 26, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 26 was 3,224,000, an increase of 8,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,216,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,211,000, an increase of 13,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,197,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)