Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 350,000 to 355,000 vs the 340,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is down from 355,000. (reported last week) to 348,750.
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 5.1% lower (improving from 3.2% 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 March 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 340,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 347,000. The 4-week moving average was 348,750, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 355,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending February 23, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 23 was 3,094,000, an increase of 3,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,091,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,121,750, a decrease of 37,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,159,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)