Jobless claims failed to live up to their recent reputation as a bright spot on the economic calendar once again this week.  While economists were expecting first time claims to come in at 295K, the actual level came in 25K higher at 320K.  This was the second straight week that claims exceeded forecasts by more than 20K, which hasn’t happened since December 2013.  With those back to back increases, we have also seen jobless claims rise by more than 40K over the last month, which hasn’t happened since October of 2013.  Based solely on claims, there are some signs of softness in the labor market.

030515 Initial Claims SA

With the recent uptick in claims, the four-week moving average has increased back above 300K for the first time since January.  At a current level of 304.75K, the four-week moving average is currently 25.75K above the post-recession low of 279K 10/31/14.

030515 Initial Claims SA 4 WKOn a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims rose by 29.4K up to 310K.  For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 2006, and more than 50K below the historical average of 362.275K for the current week going back to 2000.

030515 Initial Claims NSA

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