While they haven’t seen much of an increase in the first place, initial jobless claims fell by 11K this week, dropping down to 225K compared to the consensus forecast of 236K. At current levels, weekly claims are just 2K higher than the cycle low of 223K that we saw on 10/13/17. That now makes it 145 straight weeks (or nearly three years) since claims were last above 300K. We’re simply out of adjectives to describe how amazing of a streak this is given the size of the US labor force.
With this week’s drop in weekly claims, we also saw a nice decline in the four-week moving average which fell from 241.5K down to 234.75K. That’s just 3.5K above the cycle low of 231.25K that we saw back in the first week of November, so we could see a new low in this indicator next week if claims stay around current levels.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims fell by 44.5K down to 281.6K. For the current week of the year that’s more than 150K below the average of 440K since 2000 and the lowest reading for the current week of the year since 1969!