It has now been nine weeks since Jobless Claims last made a new low for the cycle, and while that really isn’t long of a time, after being spoiled with extraordinarily low readings for several weeks, the recent drift higher stands out. In this week’s report, Jobless Claims rose from 221K up to 224K, and while the magnitude of the increase was small, the actual print was 9K above expectations. Again, a margin of 9K isn’t really significant, but the last time a weekly claims report was 9K above expectations was all the way back in May. The important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the trend of lower highs and lower lows remains in place.
Even with this week’s increase, though, the big streaks remain in place. Claims have now been at or below 300K for a record 194 straight weeks, at or below 250K for 59 straight weeks, and at or below 225K for 20 weeks. With respect to that streak of readings at or below 225K, if we can go two more weeks without ticking up more than 1K from this week’s level, it will set a new record.
The four-week moving average increased by 2K this week to 218.5K. At that level, the average is now 12.5K above its cycle low of 206K back from mid-September. Barring any big declines next week, we can expect this average reading to increase over time.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims dropped from 236K down to 226.1K. Going back to 2000, that’s nearly 130K below the average of 355.5K for the current week of the year, and to find a lower reading for this specific week you have to go all the way back to 1969.