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Initial Claims Drop More Than Expected

After last week's surge in jobless claims and the weak employment report on Friday, bulls were understandably on edge heading into today's report.  Thankfully, today's report essentially reversed the gains of last week as first time claims dropped by 32K from 388K down to 346K.  This week's drop brought the weekly reading back down to the lower end of its recent range.

Even after this week's decline, the four-week moving average for claims actually saw a modest increase, rising from 355K up to 358K.  The reason for the increase was the dropping of a 334K reading on March 8th, which was actually the lowest reading of the recovery.  In spite of the increase, though, the four-week moving average is also still close to its lows of the recovery.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims actually rose from 316.9K up to 354K.  While that may sound noteworthy, it really isn't due to the fact that it is typical for NSA claims to rise in the first week of April.  For this time of year, NSA claims are at their lowest point since 2007 and well below the historical average of 392.7K dating back to 2000.