Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 285,000 to 311,000 (consensus 297,000) vs the 287,000 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 299,000 (reported last week as 298,500) to 294,750.
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 3.4% lower (marginally better than the 3.3% 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 September 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 287,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 293,000 to 295,000. The 4-week moving average was 294,750, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 298,500 to 299,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8 percent for the week ending September 20, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 20 was 2,398,000, a decrease of 45,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since June 17, 2006 when it was 2,395,000. The previous week's level was revised up 4,000 from 2,439,000 to 2,443,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,441,250, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since November 11, 2006 when it was 2,439,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 2,460,250 to 2,461,250.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)