Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increase to 336,000

by Bill McBride on 3/21/2013 08:34:00 AM

The DOL reports:

In the week ending March 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 336,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 334,000. The 4-week moving average was 339,750, a decrease of 7,500 from the previous week's revised average of 347,250.
The previous week was revised up from 332,000.

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000.

Click on graph for larger image.


The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased to 339,750 - this is the lowest level since early February 2008.

Weekly claims were below the 340,000 consensus forecast.  Note: Claims might increase over the next few months due to the "sequestration" budget cuts, but right now initial unemployment claims suggest an improving labor market.

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