Bucking the trend of recent weak economic releases, this week’s Initial Jobless Claims provided a sigh of relief as it came in stronger than expected. On a seasonally adjusted basis, claims fell 5K from last week’s 216K to 211K. The past two weeks’ decline in the claims number has brought the indicator back to a level near the lower end of the range it has been in since Q4 2018. This week’s 211K is also the lowest print since January 18th. Once again, the labor market is still showing strength as claims have now come in at or below 300K for 212 consecutive weeks.
With early 2019 data that was frankly all over the place now having rolled off of the average, the less volatile four-week moving average has continued to stabilize and came in lower again this week. Down from 220.5K last week, the moving average is now at 217.25K. That is the lowest reading since early November and also well off of levels from February when this measure was reaching 52-week highs. So while other economic data has been week recently, this week’s initial jobless claims and lack of more 52-week highs in the four-week moving average seem to show that some of the worries of the past few months have more or less subsided.
Turning to the non-seasonally adjusted number for this week, as we have frequently seen it came in at the lowest level since at least 2005 and for the current cycle. It is also well below the average for the current week since 2000.