Jobless Claims: Well, We Had A Good Run

The week which ended April 16 ended on a bittersweet note for job market watchers: While claims by first-time filers fell from last week’s surprising high of 416,000, the four-week average is back up to 399,000, or basically back where we were in February.

However, since the four-week average is technically below 400,000, it allows analysts to say things like “Jobless claims below the 400,000 mark are usually associated with steady employment growth. Despite the increase last week, the four-week average has now been below that level for an eighth straight week.”

Three states’ numbers for April 16 were estimated, a labor department official told Reuters, so next week we could see large revisions, either upward or downward, in this week’s figures.

Meanwhile, for the week ended April 2 (the most recent week data was available), the number of people receiving any unemployment benefits dropped 217,000 to 8.3 million. It’s unclear how many of these workers are no longer receiving benefits because they found work versus how many have simply run out of their benefits.