Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 295,000 to 315,000 (consensus 305,000) vs the 289,000 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 297,500 (reported last week as 297,250) to 293,500.
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 12.7% lower (marginally worse than the 13.0% 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 August 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 289,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 302,000 to 303,000. The 4-week moving average was 293,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since February 25, 2006 when it was 290,750. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 297,250 to 297,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent for the week ending July 26, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 26 was 2,518,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 3,000 from 2,539,000 to 2,542,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,519,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since July 7, 2007 when it was 2,509,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 2,535,250 to 2,536,000.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)