Remember earlier this year back when jobless claims got as high as 291K and there were worries that it was a signal of imminent recession? Well, neither do jobless claims. In this week’s latest update, initial claims fell by 13K down to 253K from 266K last week. This level is tied for the lowest weekly reading since 1973 and represents the 58th straight week where weekly claims were below 300K. As shown in the chart below, if this keeps up we are going to have to adjust our y-axis to the downside, and under those circumstances, it is hard to make the argument that there’s weakness in the economy.
With this week’s drop in the weekly reading, the four-week moving average also declined, but because we were already peeling off a 259K reading from the count, the magnitude of the decline was small (266.5K down to 265K).
Non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) claims actually increased this week, rising from 245K up to 270.6K, but as the chart illustrates, it is common for NSA claims to rise in early April. In fact, for the current week of the year NSA claims are more than 100K below the average since 2000, and the last time they were lower at this time of year was in 1973 (just like the seasonally adjusted number).