Jobless claims for the week ending 5/15 came in higher than expected this week, coming in at a level of 274K compared to expectations of 270K. This week’s reading broke a streak of three straight weeks where claims came in below 270K. Even at these levels, though, claims are at extraordinarily low levels relative to history and even before taking population growth into account.
Although claims rose this week, the four week moving average declined to another post-recession low. As mentioned last week, since we were dropping a reading of 296K from the four-week count, it was going to take a really bad number this week to push the four-week moving average higher. The four-week moving average has not been this low since April 2000 when it was at the same level. To find a week where the four-week moving average was lower, you have to go all the way back to December 1973.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA) jobless claims dropped by 100. Not 100K, but 100, falling from 242.9K down to 242.8K. For the current week of the year this is the lowest level since at least 2000, and 83K below the historical average for the current week of the year going back to 2000.