Weekly jobless claims came in lower than expected this week falling from 258K down to 243K.  This week’s print was the lowest since 8/25, which was right before the triple whammy of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria struck the US and its territories.  While the Department of Labor did note that claims from Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Virgin Islands were impacted, as the chart below illustrates, the impact of this Summer’s hurricanes was not nearly as impactful as Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012 implying a much stronger foundation for US employment.  It has now been 136 straight weeks since weekly claims last topped 300K – a level that used to be considered as good as it gets.  Looking ahead, we’ll have to watch out west to see if the California fires have any impact on claims in California.

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On a four-week moving average basis, claims are also starting to tick lower as this week’s reading fell by 9.5K down to 257.5K.  Again, to think that the US has been swamped with three major hurricanes and the four-week moving average of claims never went more than 35K above the multi-decade low of 235.5K from mid-May is incredible.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, weekly claims rose to 228K from 204.7K last week.  For the current week of the year, this was the lowest print since 1973 and nearly 115K below the average of 343K for the current week dating back to 2000.

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