In what has been a steady streak of weaker than expected economic data, jobless claims kept the streak going as first time claims rose to their highest level since late November. While economists were expecting claims to come in at 353K, the actual reading came in much higher at 385K. Bulls can only hope that the seasonal adjustments were skewed as a result of the early Easter holiday.
This week's increase in the weekly reading caused the four-week moving average to rise by more than 11K from 343K up to 354.3K. This is the highest reading in this indicator since February 22nd.
The only hope for bulls in this week's jobless claims reading was the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) level of claims which actually fell slightly from 315.6K down to 314K. At this level, NSA claims are the lowest for this time of year since 2007, and well below the average of 349.7K for the current week going back to 2000.