The Employment and Training Division of the Department of Labor Released their initial claims report today, Thursday. The report showed a rise of 8k with 362k in claims, analysts had forecast an increase of 355k. Last week’s results had shown an increase of 351k. The four week moving average has been trending downward since January standing at 354k on February 25. There has also been a decrease in the volatility of this factor suggesting a stabilizing effect on lay off numbers. Continuing claims, which is a less important factor for analysis because of its intransitory nature was expected to rise to, 3405k after last week’s numbers had settled at 3402k.

This number comes in th midst of a huge amount of other economic indicators which tell us a lot about the state of the jobs market and the condition of the economy in general. The ADP employment report(LINK) was released yesterday and showed that private employers added 216000 jobs in February. Tomorrow Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release their own employment report which should show an increase, forecast suggesting somewhere in the region of 250k in employment. The four week moving average in initial claim is the lowest it has been since March 2008, another sign that the economy is improving.

Though the initial claims number may be in line with the rest of the employment numbers it is not a significant factor in itself in showing the health of the jobs market. This is especially true of a week where the BLS employment report is released. The numbers are used as support to show the improvement in the labor market and therefore the economy but this numbers by themselves are not usually used for analysis. The large amount of data coming out this week should bolster the market, showing almost universally that the economy is back in growing form again and that the labor market is finally recovering.

The initial claims results are released weekly on Thursdays for the week ending the previous Saturday. The data is prompt but its narrow weekly focus makes it a less than accurate predictor of job growth levels. Its four week running average is sometimes used in order to get a more sustained picture of what is happening in the labor market. The results show the increase in filings for State jobless benefits and is calculated by the Department of Labor’s Division of Employment and Training.