After four straight weeks of better than expected readings, jobless claims edged up to a five-week high this week. While economists were forecasting first-time claims to come in at a level of 260K, the actual reading came in 14K higher at 274K, which was also the highest weekly reading since the last week of March.  Even with the higher than expected reading, claims have now been below 300K for a ridiculously long stretch of 61 straight weeks.

050516 Initial Claims SA

With this week’s increase, the four-week moving average ticked higher rising from 256K up to 258K.  While this week’s increase was modest, unless we get a big drop in the weekly reading next week (below 253K), the four-week moving average should see a larger increase.

050516 Initial Claims SA 4 WK

On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims fell by slightly less than 2K to 243.4K.  This is 89K below the average for the current week of the year dating back to 2000, but actually higher than the comparable week from last year.

050516 Initial Claims NSA

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