Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 265,000 to 285,000 (consensus 280,000) vs the 290,000 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 279,000 (reported last week as 279,000) to 285,000.
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 17.5% lower (marginally worse than the 20.2% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).
2014 claim levels are now near 40 year lows (with 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 November 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 290,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 278,000. The 4-week moving average was 285,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 279,000. 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 November 1, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending November 1 was 2,392,000, an increase of 36,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 8,000 from 2,348,000 to 2,356,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,372,500, an increase of 750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,000 from 2,369,750 to 2,371,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)