This week's release of initial jobless claims came in slightly higher than expected this morning, rising from 344K up to 354K. Although it is higher than expected, today's reading is right in the middle of the recent range of readings we have seen. Additionally, given the holiday week, numbers for five states were estimated so we will need at least another week to get a more accurate read of the numbers.
Looking at the four-week moving average, claims rose by just under 7K. This is within 10K of the post-recession low reached earlier this month, but given the fact that we drop a reading of 328K next week, claims will need to see a large drop next week in order to get the four-week moving average heading lower.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, initial claims rose by 13.6K to 317.7K. For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 2007, and well below the average for the current week going back to 2000 (349K). Here again, there is little in this week's data that was out of the norm from the recent trend.