Initial jobless claims came in matching expectations at 260K this week, up from last week’s downward revision of 254K. That reading leaves claims 1K below the pandemic high set two weeks ago. Those levels are above the pre-pandemic range and consistent with where claims stood in the fall of 2017.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims have the benefit of seasonal tailwinds at this point of the year as the mid-summer peak works itself out.  Given this, unadjusted claims have dropped to 205.6K from the high of 258.9K two weeks ago.  Although that is a strong level of claims, it is above the readings from the comparable week of the year in 2018 and 2019.

Continuing claims are lagged an additional week to the initial claims number meaning the most recent reading is as of the week of July 22nd. Although initial claims had fallen that week, continuing claims moved back above 1.4 million for the first time since mid-April. Unlike initial claims, and as we will discuss further in tonight’s Closer, the deterioration in continuing claims has been relatively modest as current levels are not only well below levels from the two years pre-pandemic, but this week’s reading would still make for some of the best readings since 1970.    Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.

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