After a disappointing report last week, jobless claims plunged this week, falling from 261K down to 220K compared to expectations for a level of 249K. Relative to expectations, this week’s report was the strongest since September 2017. It was also only the 8th weekly print that came in lower than expected by 29K or more since 2001. Even more amazing is the fact that the 220K print is the lowest reading we have seen since February 1973. That’s 45 years ago, folks! And remember, these stats don’t adjust for massive population growth since the 70s either.
The four-week moving average also saw a pretty big decline this week, falling from 250.75K down to 244.5K. That’s still more than 13K above the cycle low of 231.25K back in early November, but it does break a streak of four straight weeks where the reading increased.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims fell from 403.6K down to 360K. While NSA claims were actually slightly lower at the same time this year, they are still more than 188.1K below the average of 548.1K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000. All in all, it was a very strong report.