The labor market keeps humming along just fine as seen through this week’s Initial Jobless Claims report. Claims printed below expectations of 220K and lower than last week’s 216K. At 213K on a seasonally adjusted basis, claims are at their lowest since the beginning of December and back within the range that we saw for most of the late summer/early fall of 2018. With further strength this week, the impressive streaks we have noted in the past continue unthreatened. The seasonally adjusted reading has now stayed below 250K for 67 straight weeks. Claims have also come in below 300K for 202 consecutive weeks. Any major shocks to initial claims aside, these streaks look likely to stay healthy for some time.
Whereas the seasonally adjusted number has more or less returned to where it was in the latter half of 2018, the 4-week moving average has hovered off of, but somewhat near, recent highs. This week’s release for the moving average came in at 220.75 which is only 1K lower than last week. Since the beginning of December claims by this measure has firmly held within a range of 219K to 222K.
Taking a look at the non-seasonally adjusted numbers, claims fell to 344.9K from revised lower 348.1K last week. As seasonal factors, which typically cause large upticks around this time of year, begin to wear off, non-adjusted claims will also continue to decline. This week’s data also comes in at the lowest level for the current week of all years since 2000 and over 200K below the average for the same time frame.