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Initial jobless claims for the latest week came in at 393K this morning, which was down from last week's reading of 416K. Although claims declined for the week, the drop was not as large as expected as economists were looking for a level of 390K. Since the peak reading in the aftermath of Sandy two weeks ago, jobless claims are now down 58K.

(click to enlarge)Although claims for the latest week declined, the four-week moving average is still rising, and barring a large drop next week, it should rise again next week. This week's level of 405.3K is the highest four-week average reading since September 2011, and it represents the 35th straight week that the four-week moving average has not made a new low.

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On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims fell by more than 45K to 357K. This is below the average for this time of year going back to 2000 (396K) and the lowest weekly reading for this time of year since 2007.

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Source: Initial Jobless Claims Drop Less Than Expected