Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 330,000 to 335,000 vs the 360,000 reported. The more important 4 week moving average is marginally worse, moving from 336,750 (reported last week) to 339,250. Econintersect does not view one week's bad numbers as a negative trend.
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 9.7% lower (degrading from 11.3% 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 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 360,000, an increase of 32,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 328,000. The 4-week moving average was 339,250, an increase of 1,250 from the previous week's revised average of 338,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending May 4, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 4 was 3,009,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,013,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,015,250, a decrease of 21,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,036,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)