It used to be that a weekly print below 300K in jobless claims was a big deal, but these days a print below 250K doesn’t even raise much of an eyebrow. This week’s report was another example. While economists were expecting first time claims to come in at 245K, the actual reading came in at 239K, marking the 6th time in the last seven weeks that claims printed below 250K. This was also the 102nd straight week where claims came in below 300K. To put the recent levels of jobless claims in perspective, initial jobless claims have been below 240K in four of the last seven weeks, but from 1973 through October 2016, they didn’t go below that level once!
While jobless claims remained low this week, the four-week moving average actually increased slightly, rising from 244.75K to 245.25K. However, barring a reading above 260K next week, we should see another cycle low for this measure.
Finally, even with the impressive reading on the seasonally adjusted reading, the most impressive aspect of this week’s report was probably the non-seasonally adjusted level. This week’s reading fell by 13.6K down to 246K. For the current week of the year, this week’s reading is more than 125K below the average since 2000. In fact, since the weekly claims release began in 1967, there has never been a lower reading for the current week of the year. Impressive!