Initial unemployment claims are going the wrong way
Initial unemployment claims are starting to creep back upwards on an absolute and year over year basis. The standard seasonally adjusted 4 week moving average of initial claims (that's a mouthful!) has recently bounced back up to 440k from 400k.
While this does not look so bad if one looks at the data on an absolute level, one can see the trend clearly deteriorating on a year over basis [2nd chart]
Now this is only a few weeks but the trend is not going in the 'right' direction. My previous post on initial claims data provided two different theoretical outcomes merely by torturing the data via different means.
Some have posited the rise in initial clams is due to automotive factories laying off people because of supply chain problems stemming from the earthquake in Japan a few months back. Another possibility is the increase in oil prices is finally starting to really bite into the consumers pocketbook and layoffs are ensuing in consumer sensitive sectors of the economy. Regardless we will know soon if this is a short term blip in unemployment claims or a longer term trend.