FXstreet.com (Barcelona) - The amount of laid-off workers who applied for the unemployment benefit for the first time has posted a moderate decrease in the week of February the 16th, whereas the continuing claims have recorded a somewhat larger jump, according to data released by the US Department of Labor.

Initial jobless claims have dropped by 9K to 349,000 in February 16 week, from revised 359,000 initial claims posted on the previous week. Continuing claims, however have increased by 48K to 2,784,000 in the week of February the 2nd.

The four week moving average, considered more trustworthy, as it erases seasonal volatility, has shown an increase of 10,750 initial claims, to 360,500, from the previous week's revised total volume of 349,750. In the continuing claims case, the 4-week moving average has shown an increase of 28,750 to 2,752,500.

Ian Shepherdson, Chief U.S. Economist at High Frequency Economics, Ltd remarks thethe increase in the four week moving average: The four-week moving average rose to a new cycle high of 360.5K, despite the weekly dip in claims. This is the highest level since February 04, excluding the period immediately after Hurricane Katrina. At the start of the recession in March 2001, the four-week moving average stood at 373K, so there is not much further to go before claims join the ISM nonmanufacturing survey and the NFIB survey - and all the housing indicators - in recession territory.