Jobless Claims Average Hits 12-Month High

May 8, 2003 ( - Although first-time unemployment claims fell last week, a more accurate jobless barometer shot up to its peak of more than a year.

The US Department of Labor (DoL) said the initial unemployment insurance claims dropped 28,000 to 425,000 from a revised 453,000 for the week ending May 3. The report’s big potential danger signal, however, was that the four-week moving average – widely viewed as more accurate because it irons out short-term volatility – was up 3,250 to 446,000 from a revised 442,750.

That was the highest the average has been since the week of April 20, 2002 when it was 449,000.

The latest claims drop was greater than forecast by economists in Reuters’ regular poll; they predicted a 438,000 total.