Initial jobless claims declined this week falling down to 221K from last week’s reading of 230K and below consensus forecasts of 225K. This week marks the 211th week that claims have come in below 300K. In other words, in spite of short term fluctuations, jobless data is still at healthy levels. 221K sits right within the range of the last month (221K – 230K), indicating that jobless claims seem to have stabilized following big fluctuations around the government shutdown.
Similarly, the less volatile four-week moving average has also found a degree of stability after drifting upwards since the final weeks of 2018. This week the moving average rose 1K to 225K, and it has now been an entire month since it last hit a 52-week high. Again in the past month, the moving average—like the SA number—has been pretty much sideways.
Finally, turning to the non-seasonally adjusted data, claims saw a drop consistent with seasonal patterns to 194.1K. That is down from 209.4K last week. This was also the lowest reading for the current week of the year for the current cycle and the lowest week’s number since early October. Additionally, this was far below the average of 307K for the current week of the year going back to 2000.