After four straight weeks where jobless claims came in lower than forecast, we have now seen two straight weeks where jobless claims have disappointed to the upside. Last week, claims came in 10K ahead of forecasts and today’s report showed claims coming in 5K higher than expected. While economists were forecasting claims to fall back down to 240K, the actual reading came in at 245K, which was down 10K from last week’s reading of 255K. Despite the higher than expected reading, claims have now been below 300K for 118 straight weeks.
Heading into last week’s report, we were expecting the four-week moving average to make a new cycle low, but the higher than expected reading quashed that plan, and with this week’s reading of 245K, it is unlikely that we will see a new low in claims anytime soon. To get there, the four-week moving average would need to drop down to 235.5K from the current level of 242K. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the next two week’s we will be dropping readings in the low 230K range, so the four-week moving average is likely to drift higher.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims fell from 231.6K down to 212.2K. For the current week of the year, this is more than 100K below the average going back to 2000 and the lowest for this specific week since 1974.