An index tracking the number of individuals filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time. The data is compiled weekly, and on a week to week basis, can be somewhat unreliable. However, the four week moving average of the index, which is what most analysts use, can be a valuable indicator. Many economists use the data to gauge the current job market. Increases in the Initial Jobless Claims can be indicative of slowing job growth, while decreases can signal acceleration. The data is released at 8:30 am ET every Thursday.