Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 351,000 to 355000 vs the 339,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is better, moving from 361,250 (reported last week) to 357,500.
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 6.6% lower (improving from 3.8% 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 April 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 339,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 355,000. The 4-week moving average was 357,500, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 362,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending April 13, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 13 was 3,000,000, a decrease of 93,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,093,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,071,750, a decrease of 17,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,089,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)