Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 310,000 to 335,000 (consensus 320,000) vs the 344,000 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 317,000 (reported last week as 316,750) to 320,000.
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 11.6% 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 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 344,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 329,000 to 330,000. The 4-week moving average was 320,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 316,750 to 317,000. 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 April 19, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate of 2.0 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 19 was 2,771,000, an increase of 97,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 6,000 from 2,680,000 to 2,674,000. The 4- week moving average was 2,734,000, a decrease of 16,750 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 down by 1,500 from 2,752,250 to 2,750,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)