Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 310,000 to 326,000 (consensus 318,000) vs the 300,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average improved rather significantly, moving from 321,000 (reported last week as 319,500) to 316,250.
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 four week rolling average of initial claims are 11.8% lower (better than the 10.0% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).
2014 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 April 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 300,000, a decrease of 32,000 from the previous week's revised level. The last time initial claims were this low was May 12, 2007 when they were 297,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 326,000 to 332,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,250, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,500 from 319,500 to 321,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1 percent for the week ending March 29, a decrease of 0.1 from the previous week's unrevised rate of 2.2 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 29 was 2,776,000, a decrease of 62,000 from the previous week's revised level. The last time insured unemployment was this low was January 19, 2008 when it was 2,770,000. The previous week's level was revised up 2,000 from 2,836,000 to 2,838,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,824,250, a decrease of 18,500 from the previous week's revised average. The last time this average was this low was February 9, 2008 when it was 2,817,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 2,842,250 to 2,842,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)