Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting 330,000 to 335,000 vs the 331,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average degraded slightly, moving from 330,500 (reported last week) to 331,250.
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, and year-over-year comparisons removes this seasonality. The initial claims are 10.7% lower (better than the 10.4% last week) than they were in this week in 2012.
The rate of improvement this week is compariable to the rate of improvement seen in 2012 (as evidenced on the above chart) - 2013 claim levels are now within the normal range (around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims) of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion (see chart below).
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending August 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 331,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 337,000. The 4-week moving average was 331,250, an increase of 750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 330,500.The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending August 17, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 17 was 2,989,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,003,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,996,250, an increase of 9,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,986,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)