Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 336,000 to 340,000 vs the 323,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is better, moving from 342,250 (reported last week) to 336,750.
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 11.3% lower (improving from 10.9% last week) than they were in this week in 2012. Claims have returned to the trend lines seen for most of 2012.
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending May 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 323,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 327,000. The 4-week moving average was 336,750, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 343,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending April 27, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 27 was 3,005,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,032,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,034,250, a decrease of 24,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,058,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)