After raising some concerns for the state of the economy earlier this year, economists are starting to breathe a little easier after the last two weeks of jobless claims. After hitting a seven-week low last week, jobless claims made an even lower low this week (262K vs 275K expected), falling to their lowest level since late November 2015. Back in mid-January when jobless claims ticked as high as 294K, it looked increasingly likely that the long streak of sub-300K weekly readings was in jeopardy, but with this week’s reading, claims are firmly back below 300K as they have been for 50 weeks now, and they’re also comfortably back below the mini-uptrend that formed from the Fall lows. To find a longer streak of sub-300K weekly readings, you have to go all the way back to 1973.
With two nice declines in weekly claims, the four-week moving average for claims also saw a large drop, falling by 8K to 273.25K. That’s the largest weekly decline for the four-week average since late March 2015. Even after the decline, though, the four-week moving average is still 14K above its cycle, and for that matter, multi-decade low of 259.25K that was reached 17 weeks ago.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims fell 32K down to 258.3K. For the current week of the year, that is more than 100K below the average since 2000, and to find a lower reading for this particular week, you have to go all the way back to 1969. Yep, employment is pretty strong right now.