Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 340,000 to 345000 vs the 385,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is worse from 343,000 (reported last week) to 343,000.
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 2.4% lower (worsening from 6.2% last week) than they were in this week in 2012. Claims remain elevated from the trend lines seen for most of 2012 - however, this elevated trend appears to be ending.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending March 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 385,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 357,000. The 4-week moving average was 354,250, an increase of 11,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 343,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending March 23, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 23 was 3,063,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,071,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,067,250, a decrease of 10,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,077,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)