It used to be that a weekly reading for initial jobless claims that came in below 300K was a big deal. Nowadays, sub-300K readings don’t even raise an eyebrow as the new 300K is 250K. In this week’s report, first-time jobless claims came in at 234K compared to estimates of 238K. Not only is that better than expected, but it also marks the 12th straight week that jobless claims have been at or below 250K. It’s hard to overstate just how impressive this trend is.
With this week’s second straight sub-240K print, the four-week moving average is also back below 240K and less than 3K from the cycle low of 235.5K made back in mid-May. While the 4-week average is close to a new low, in order to get there next week, we will have to see a print below 232K.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims were just as impressive dropping from 198.3K down to 194.7K. That’s the second straight week below 200K and is nearly 100K below the average level for the current week of the year since 2000. To find a week where the NSA reading for the current week of the year was lower, you have to go back to 1969.