Initial jobless claims came in slightly higher than expected at 239,000 for the week ending November 4th, versus 232,000 expected and 229,000 last week. Continuing claims were slightly weaker, rising to 1.901mm versus 1.885 expected and 1.884 previously. While the uptick wasn’t positive, the trend is still very much “down and to the right”.

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The best way to measure the trend of claims is to look at the 4 week moving average. As shown in the chart below, that 4 week average is the lowest we’ve seen in the current cycle. It’s also the lowest number in more than 40 years, with no other period since 1973 showing claims so low in a 4 week period.

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On an non-seasonally adjusted basis, the current week saw claims of less than 220,000, and as has been the case for a while now, it was the lowest level for this week of the year in the past decade. On average, claims have typically been more than 50% higher than the current level during this week of the year.

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