In the week ending Jan. 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 470,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 478,000. The 4-week moving average was 456,250, an increase of 9,500 from the previous week's revised average of 446,750.
Here is the data:
Remember last week we had a big spike of 36,000 that was caused by "administrative" issues -- claims were filed but not processed in the preceding weeks. Therefore, a large backlog was processed in a short period of time. This week we saw a decrease in the one week numbers but an increase in the 4-week moving average. I would expect the 4-week moving average to increase for the next few weeks, largely as the result of the jump of 36,000 last week. However, so long as we continue to see the decrease continue, the jump will amount to a statistical blip.