The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report was released this morning for last week. The 360,000 new claims number was a 16,000 increase from the previous week's 344,000 (an upward revision from 343,000). The less volatile and closely watched four-week moving average, which is usually a better indicator of the recent trend, rose by 6,000 to 351,750. Here is the official statement from the Department of Labor:
In the week ending July 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 360,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 344,000. The 4-week moving average was 351,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 345,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending June 29, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 29 was 2,977,000, an increase of 24,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,953,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,970,750, a decrease of 3,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,974,250.
Here is a close look at the data over the past few years (with a callout for the several months), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession and the trend in recent weeks.
As we can see, there's a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.