Jobless claims came in higher than expected for the second straight week this morning, but remain at levels that are extremely low in a historical context. While economists were expecting first-time claims to come in at a level of 274K, the actual reading was 282K. Although higher than expected, this was the 12th week in a row that claims were below 300K, which is the longest streak since July 2000.
With this week’s increase, the four-week moving average also rose from a post-recession low of 266.5K last week to 271.5K. As the table in the chart below indicates, over the next two weeks we will be dropping two sub 270K readings from the four-week count, so it is going to take significantly lower weekly readings to keep this tally from rising over the next two weeks. That being the case, it may be some time before we see a new low in the four-week average of claims again.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims increased by less than 8K this week, rising from 243.5K up to 251.4K. For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 2000, and more than 75K below the average of 328K for the current week of the year since 2000.