First-time jobless claims increased to 230,000 for the week ending April 26, well above our preferred metric, the 13-week moving average of 217,100.
A look at the individual state count indicates no significant deviations from the mean, thus we think that the top-line advance is simply more noise than signal. We anticipate first-time claims to drift down toward the 13-week moving average over the next few weeks. The top-line data will not influence the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of April employment because the reference week for the estimate ended April 13.
Continuing claims, a solid forward-looking indicator of the unemployment rate, declined to 1.7 million for the week ending April 13, from 1.72 million for the week ending April 6, and down from 1.862 million one year ago. Based on this data we are keeping our forecast of the April unemployment rate at 3.8 percent. The BLS releases April data on Friday.