After a one-week surge that took the weekly jobless claims print to just under 300K, this week saw the second straight decline in claims as first-time claims fell to 259K from last week’s reading of 282K. With claims coming in 43K below consensus expectations, this week’s reading was further below expectations than for any other weekly print since April 2009. With claims still holding below 300K this week, the streak of sub-300K readings has now extended itself to 133 weeks. One caveat we would mention here, though, is that according to the release, first-time claims in Florida rose by just 5,133. Given the scope of the damage from Hurricane Irma, that seems low, but we will see if these readings increase in the coming weeks.
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While claims fell on a week/week basis, the four-week moving average still increased by 6K to 268.75K for its third straight weekly increase. That’s the highest level for the four-week moving average since early June 2016 and is now more than 33K above the cycle low of 235.5K from 18 weeks ago in mid-May.