After three solid reports, jobless claims for the latest week saw a relatively large jump, rising from 243K up to 257K. That’s considerably higher than economist estimates for a decline to 242K. As shown in the chart below, claims are now once again bumping up against the downtrend line that has been in place for some time now. Obviously, claims can’t go down forever, but this is a reading to watch closely in the next few weeks. Anything sideways would be fine, but a significant run higher would be bad news for bulls. This week’s report also covered the Easter holiday, so there’s also the possibility that the numbers were distorted by the holiday.
Even with the relatively large jump in claims, the four-week moving average actually declined from 242.75K down to 242.25K. That provides some consolation from the jump in the weekly reading, but a good number this week would have brought the four-week moving average to a new low (below 239.75K).
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims came in at 241.5K which was just under 100K below its historical average for the current week of the year since 2000.