Ben Bernanke doing his magic: Part 1 falling unemployment claims, Part 2 accelerating price inflation.
In the week ending December 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 343,000, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 372,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,500, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised average of 408,500, reports the Department of Labor.
Here is a chart via Calculated Risk that shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000.
The recent sharp increase in the 4 week average was due to Hurricane Sandy as claims increased significantly in NY, NJ and other impacted areas. That is now working its way out of the numbers.