Jobless claims dropped considerably more than expected this week, falling from 246K to 234K and well below consensus expectations for an increase to 249K. This week’s level is the second lowest reading of the current cycle, behind only the 233K reading from early November. It is also the 101st week that claims have been below 300K, which is the longest streak since 1970. It wasn’t too long ago that getting below 300K in weekly claims was considered a milestone. Now, the last time weekly claims were above that level seems like a distant memory.
With this week’s big decline, the four-week moving average also went on to make another post-recession low, dropping to 244.25K.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims declined from 278.6K down to 259.5K. That’s more than 140K below the average for the current week of the year going back to 2000 and is the lowest reading for the current week of the year since 1969.