Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 310,000 to 335,000 (consensus 313,000) vs the 329,000 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 312,000 (reported last week as 312,000) to 316,750.
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, and year-over-year comparisons removes this seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 11.6% lower (worse than the 13.8% 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 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 304,000 to 305,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 312,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0 percent for the week ending April 12, a decrease of 0.1 percent from the previous week's unrevised rate of 2.1 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 12 was 2,680,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 8, 2007 when it was 2,672,000. The previous week's level was revised up 2,000 from 2,739,000 to 2,741,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,752,250, a decrease of 33,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 29, 2007 when it was 2,730,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 2,785,250 to 2,785,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)