The number of people filing for first time unemployment benefits fell by 18,000 to 365,000 in the week ending May 3rd, according to the Labor Department. Economists had been expecting 370,000 new claims for the week. Having witnessed extremely volatile measurements in the past six weeks, it is wise to consider the four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out one-time factors such as bad weather or holidays. The four-week moving average was higher by 2,500 in the latest week, up to 367,500.
Initial claims are up 17% in the past year.
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