Following last week's large drop in initial jobless claims, economists were looking for a modest increase this week and that is exactly what we got. Compared to last week's revised level of 348K, first time claims rose by 4K to 352K, which was 2K more than the 350K consensus estimate. In the recent environment of weak economic data, though, a miss of just 2K in claims is almost a win.
The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims also increased this week rising from 358.5K up to 361.3K. This is more than 20K above the post-recession low of 340.8K that we saw a month ago and represents the fifth straight week of increases.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), initial claims dropped by a little more than 1K. For the current week of the year, claims are at their lowest point since 2007, and well below the average of 355K for the current week going back to 2000.