In what has become an increasingly important report given its uncomfortable upward trend, jobless claims came in higher than expected at 285K this week surpassing consensus expectations by 7K. Over the last six weeks now, jobless claims have been higher than expected five times. While claims have been steadily rising, the big psychological threshold is 300K. Claims have now been below this level for 48 straight weeks, so an upside break would only exacerbate concerns over a faltering economy.
This week’s increase brought the four-week moving average up to 284.75K, an increase of 2K. We’re still below the multi-month high of 285.25K from two weeks ago, but the four-week moving average has also been steadily drifting higher.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims increased by 16.3K up to 312K. This is still more than 100K below the historical average of 415.3K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000, but it’s actually above last year’s level for the same week (306.6K).