Last week’s reading on initial jobless claims came in at 220K (revised up to 221K) which was above the past several weeks’ range. This week’s claims data fell back to the opposite end of this range with a 209K print. This handily beat expectations of a drop to only 216K and was the largest one-week decline in claims since the first week of July when it fell by 14K. As per usual lately, although this does not mark any new low, it is still a healthy reading. Seasonally adjusted claims have now remained at or below 300K for a total of 233 consecutive weeks and at or below 250K for 98 weeks.
The move in the four-week moving average for claims, which helps to smooth out the fluctuations of the high-frequency indicator, was unexciting this week with a tiny 0.5K increase from last week. While the increases have been small, this week marked the third straight week that the moving average has moved higher. So far in 2019, there have been three other streaks like this with each one ending at the fourth week.
Non-seasonally adjusted claims came in at 169.9K this week, which is over 17K below last week’s number. For the current week of the year, this was the largest week-over-week drop in claims in five years when it fell by 20K in 2014. This was also the lowest number for the NSA data for the current week of the year (33rd week) of the cycle. This week’s NSA print was also 3.7K lower than the comparable week last year.
We must also note that over the coming weeks due to seasonal patterns, claims typically see their lowest levels of the year (usually in the final week of August or the first week of September). Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Premium.