With jobless claims coming in at 50-year lows for the past few weeks, it is pretty surprising to see claims see a significant uptick to 230K this week, up by 37K from last week’s revised reading of 193K. That is the largest week over week increase in claims since September 1, 2017 when claims jumped by 61K. Using our Economic Indicator Database, we also found that this week’s print was the eleventh weakest relative to expectations since the recovery began in June 2009. This kind of jump shakes some of the optimism that the recent lows may have generated, but one week does not make a trend. Initial jobless claims are still at healthy levels with a streak of 67 weeks below 250K and 216 weeks below 300K. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Premium to access our interactive economic indicators monitor and much more.
For the four-week moving average, which is a less volatile look at the data, claims picked up slightly but are still right around recent lows. The four-week average is now reading 206K versus 201.5 last week—which was a 52 week low, the lowest level of the cycle, and the lowest since 1969. So again, while the uptick in the week over week numbers was significant, the moving average confirms that it is not any sort of major change in trend.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims rose up to 211.4K. That comes after two weeks straight of the NSA number remaining just above 196K. Over the past several years, the current week of the year has seen a mix of upticks and declines. The same week in 2017 actually saw a very similar movement (an increase of 15.7K) just slightly larger than this week’s 15K change.