Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly intial unemployment claims at 315,000 to 325,000 (consensus 317,000) 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 moved from 322,750 (reported last week as 322,500) to 311,500.
It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is always some seasonality which migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons helps remove some seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 10.5% lower (much better than the 5.3% 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 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 300,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 326,000 to 327,000. The 4-week moving average was 311,500, a decrease of 11,250 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since August 11, 2007 when it was 311,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 322,500 to 322,750. 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 May 17, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 17 was 2,631,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since November 17, 2007 when it was 2,609,000. The previous week's level was revised down by 5,000 from 2,653,000 to 2,648,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,655,250, a decrease of 32,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 8, 2007 when it was 2,638,500. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,250 from 2,689,000 to 2,687,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)