The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 275,000 to 300,000 (consensus 279,000) vs the 255,000 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 282,500 (reported last week as 282,500) to 278,500. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.
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 8.1% lower (worse than the 8.6% for last week) than they were in this same week in 2014.
Claim levels remain 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 July 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 255,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 281,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 24, 1973 when it was 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 278,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 282,500. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending July 11, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 11 was 2,207,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 1,000 from 2,215,000 to 2,216,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,253,750, a decrease of 10,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 2,264,000 to 2,264,250.
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