Ahead of tomorrow’s March employment report, we got some unexpected good news on the economy with weekly jobless claims. While economists were forecasting first time claims to come in at 286K, the actual reading was 268K. As shown in the chart below, that reading registers as the third lowest reading of the economic recovery.
With today’s big decline in jobless claims, the four-week moving average dropped from 300.25K down to 285.5K. That 14.75K drop was the largest one week decline since December 2012. Furthermore, if we get a similar weekly reading in claims next week, the four-week moving average would take out its post-recession low of 279K that we saw at the end of October.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, first time claims fell from 248K down to 240.5K. For the current week of the year, that is the lowest reading since 2000 and more than 90K below the historical average of 333K going back to 2000.