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After a historic drop which took first time claims down to their lowest level since 1973, jobless claims moved back up into their prior range in the latest week. While economists were expecting first time claims to come in at a level of 250K, the actual reading came in right near the mark at 251K. There’s not much to say about current levels that hasn’t already been said, but we would add that this marks the 90th straight week where claims have been below 300K. That’s the longest streak since 1970 when they went 161 weeks below 300k. Keep in mind, though, that the size of the US population was a lot smaller back then.
Even with this week’s increase in claims, the four-week moving average still declined (to 251K) but not by enough to set a new cycle low. The cycle low of 249.5K from seven weeks ago remains intact for now, but provided there are no upward revisions and we get a reading below 260K next week, the four-week moving average will make a new low.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims increased 63.3K to 287.1K, but these types of increases are to be expected at this time of year. Even with this week’s jump, this week’s reading is the lowest for the current week of the year since 1973 and nearly 110K below the average of 397K for the current week of the year going back to 2000.