This week was the first time in eight weeks where economists’ consensus expectations for jobless claims was not 265K, and while they finally lowered their consensus forecast to 261K, the decline wasn’t enough as first time claims dropped to 252K, which was the lowest weekly reading since mid-July. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this week’s report represents the 81st straight week that claims have been below 300K, which is the longest streak in over 40 years.
With this week’s decline, the four-week moving average dropped from 260.75K down to 258.5K. That’s the lowest level since late July and just 2.5K above the cycle low of 256K from April. We had a hard time believing that we would ever get back down near the cycle lows, but another week like this week’s print and the four-week moving average will be right there.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims rose from 193.3K up to 205.8K. Despite the increase, this week’s reading is more than 100K below the average for the current week of the year since 2000 and the lowest reading since 1973. Judging by the standards of jobless claims at least, the labor market remains in pretty good shape.