Amid the recent surge of red in economic data, jobless claims are once again sticking out like a green thumb. In the latest week, first time claims came in at 282K, which was 8K below the consensus forecast and the lowest reading in over a month. With economic reports coming in consistently worse than expected of late, it is surprising to see claims hold up so well.
With this week’s drop in claims, the four week moving average fell by nearly 8K down to 297K. This was also the first sub-300K reading in four weeks. Next week we will be dropping a reading of 325K from the four-week count, so barring a horrible report, look for this indicator to decline again. That being said, we would need to see a weekly reading of close to 250K if there was any chance of taking out the post-recession low of 279K from 21 weeks ago in late October.
This week’s non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) reading in jobless claims was also impressive. Compared to last week, NSA claims fell to 247.3K from last week’s level of 260.2K. For the current week of the year, this week’s reading is the lowest since 2000 and more than 80K below the average of 330K for the current week dating back to 2000.