Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decline to 370,000

The DOL reports:

In the week ending December 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, a decrease of 25,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 395,000. The 4-week moving average was 408,000, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 405,750.
The previous week was revised up from 393,000.
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 increased to 408,000.

This sharp increase in the 4 week average is due to Hurricane Sandy as claims increased significantly in NY, NJ and other impacted areas over the 4-week period (some of those areas saw another decline this week). Note the spike in 2005 was related to hurricane Katrina - we are seeing a similar impact, although on a smaller scale.

Weekly claims were lower than the consensus forecast.

And here is a long term graph of weekly claims:

We use the 4-week average to smooth out noise, but following an event like Hurricane Sandy,  the 4-week average lags the event. It looks like the average should decline next week to around 390,000 and should continue to decline over the next few weeks.
Article Source: calculatedriskblog