When it comes to economic indicators, it used to be that weekly jobless claims were one of the most reliable to deliver a positive report. In recent weeks, though, that hasn’t been the case as claims have come in higher than expected in each of the last four weeks. In this week’s report, economists were expecting the headline reading to come in at a level of 247K from last week’s reading of 261K, but the actual decline was smaller at just 3K to 258K. The last time jobless claims have been higher than expected four weeks in a row was back in January of last year, and to find the last time claims exceeded forecasts for five straight weeks, you have to go all the way back to November 2013. Despite the weaker than expected readings, however, we would still note that claims remain very low, coming in below 300K for the last 108 weeks.
The four-week moving average also saw quite an increase this week, rising from 246.5K up to 254.25K. That 7.75K increase is the largest one-week jump in the four-week moving average since February 2015.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims still remain encouraging. This week’s print came in at 228.3K, which was the lowest level for the current week of the year since 1973 and 94K below the average level of 322.4K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.