Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 333,000 to 335,000 vs the 379,000 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, moving from 328,750 (reported last week) to 343,500.
This second week of unusual increases in unemployment claims - and where notations appear from states that have increases in claims, they are coming from construction, transport, manufacturing, food services, and retail.
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 four week rolling average of initial claims are 6.7% lower (worse than the 13.8% last week) than they were in this same week in 2012.
The rate of improvement generally is equal to or better than 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 December 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 379,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's figure of 369,000. The 4-week moving average was 343,500, an increase of 13,250 from the previous week's revised average of 330,250.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending December 7, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemploymentduring the week ending December 7 was 2,884,000, an increase of 94,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,790,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,799,000, an increase of 4,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,794,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line)