Jobless claims for the latest week were precisely unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis, extending their record run below 300,000 to an astounding 71 weeks. While the pace of improvement for claims (for instance, YoY percent change) has slowed somewhat over the last 12 months, the sideways trend and extreme low levels suggest there’s little imminent threat to the labor market. The low numbers of claims are even more impressive when adjusting for population growth since 1971, when they were last this consistently low.
The four-week average of claims ticked back down below 260,000 to 259,000. That’s still slightly above the post-recession low claims count of 256,000 back in April but represents the second-lowest reading since the year 2000. The four-week average has now fallen 7 of the last 8 weeks.
Non-seasonally adjusted (NSA), initial claims were one-third lower than typical for this week of the year since 2000. They’ve averaged 451,000 over the last 15 years, part of a seasonal mid-summer spike. This year, that spike has been much lower than typical, although we could see one more high print before the NSA begins its trend lower in the Fall.