Initial claims have been marred by seasonal adjustment issues for the past 4-5 months. There was been a second quarter bump in claims that many believe was due to seasonal adjustment issues and now the current claims are tainted by the lack of normal layoffs in the auto industry.
I have been looking at the 13 week moving average versus the 13 week moving average 52 weeks ago. Claims on this basis are down over 11% versus last year - and have been down over 10% on this basis for over a month. In general, this is not a "slowly" improving job market, but a steadily improving job market that has the potential to produce some very strong employment growth if the trend continues.