Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 320,000 to 335,000 (consensus 330,000) vs the 319,000 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 320,250 (reported last week as 320,000) to 324,750.
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 3.9% lower (worse than the 6.7% 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 May 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 319,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 344,000 to 345,000. The 4-week moving average was 324,750, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 320,000 to 320,250. 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 26, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate of 2.1 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 26 was 2,685,000, a decrease of 76,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 10,000 from 2,771,000 to 2,761,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,715,250, a decrease of 16,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 22, 2007 when it was 2,700,000. The previous week's average was revised down by 2,500 from 2,734,000 to 2,731,500.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)