Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims came in at 231K which was ever so slightly above expectations of 230K. Meanwhile, last week’s number brought up the low end of the recent range after a 4K upward revision to 233K. That means the most recent read actually showed an improvement versus the previous week whereas before it would have been a modest deterioration in the number. Regardless, claims remain well off of the multi-decade lows from earlier in the spring, but even at current levels, the only historical periods with parallels for as strong of a level were just before the pandemic and the late 1960s to early 1970s.
We would also note that even though claims are up versus the early spring, the reading has seen very little movement in the past month. Quantifying this, the four-week rolling standard deviation in claims has fallen below 1 for only the seventh time on record going back to 1967. The past six times this happened were: April 1988, March 1990, September 2006, August 2016, and June 2019. That is not to say that claims are either improving or deteriorating in any sort of significant way, but rather claims have been remarkably stable in recent weeks.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims have likewise been little changed over the past few weeks having gone from 206.1K two weeks ago, to 206.4K last week to 207.4K this week. Without much movement, this week’s reading on claims continues to show a stronger reading than comparable weeks pre-pandemic even if they have come off of recent lows from earlier this year.
When taking seasonality into account, as shown in the second chart below, that lack of movement in the claims number is not exactly unwarranted for the current period of the year, but it is likely to change as the next few weeks have consistently seen claims experience a brief and sizable uptick.
Turning over to continuing claims, the rise off of pandemic and multi-decade lows has been much less severe. In the most recent week’s data through June 17th, continuing claims fell from 1.331 million to 1.328 million. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.