Jobless claims on a seasonally adjusted basis came in higher once again this week rising to 225K from an upwardly revised 217K last week. This is right in the middle of the range that claims have been at for much of the past year. The streak of weeks below 300K now stands at 208, so the indicator still points to a healthy labor market.
As we have made note of in the past couple weeks (see here and here), the less volatile four-week moving average measure has seen multiple 52-week highs. While on its own it may not be too much of a concern, repeated instances would not be a positive sign. Fortunately, this week we get a break from 52-week highs as the moving average moved lower to 229K from 236K last week. This comes as a result of a high 253K reading from the final week of January rolling off of the average. This week’s print is still well above what was observed for much of the past year but it is reassuring that it did not hit a 52-week high for the third week in a row.
Consistent with seasonal tendencies, the non-seasonally adjusted data also fell 8K this week to 202.7K. While still healthily under the average for the current week of 315.59K, this print is above last year’s. For the current week last year, the non-seasonally adjusted number came in at 195.9K. Otherwise, this is still well below other prints of the current cycle.