This week’s release of Initial Jobless Claims from the U.S. Department of Labor was pretty uneventful as the seasonally adjusted data was in line with expectations at 215K. That is a slight rise from the upwardly revised 212K (originally 211K) last week. That revision means that claims for last week had been unchanged from the prior release. In the past couple months, the seasonally adjusted numbers have seen this sort of pattern before. In the final weeks of April, claims came in at their recent high of 230K two weeks in a row. This was followed by a 2K lower reading of 228K. The weeks since have basically mirrored this with the aforementioned two consecutive weeks of a print of 212K and now this week’s 3K rise to 215K. Keeping steady like this, claims have remained below 250K for 72 weeks now, and have been below 300K for 221 weeks now. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Institutional to access our interactive economic indicators monitor and much more.
As the previously mentioned highs from late April have continued to roll off, the four-week moving average has fallen for its second straight week down to 216.75K from 220.3K last week. Like the seasonally adjusted level data, the four-week moving average now sits in the middle of its recent highs and lows. This means that this week’s reading continues to not indicate any sort of new direction for the data, rather, it is showing labor data is simply holding up at healthy levels.
The non-seasonally adjusted number rose to 196.1K compared to 191.3K last week. That rise is typical for the current week of the year. As shown in the chart below, over the next several weeks of the year headed into the summer months, the data has usually seen a seasonal uptick. Given this and in spite of the rise, this week’s reading is still indicating a healthy labor market as it remains below levels from last year and all prior years of the current cycle. It is also still well below the average for the week of the year going back to 2000.