In last week’s Bespoke Report, we noted that jobless claims were one of the few indicators that had bucked the recent trend of weaker than expected economic data. This week, though, they finally joined the crowd. While economists were expecting first time claims to come in at a level of 290K, which would have been a modest increase from last week’s reading of 282K, the actual increase was much larger. At a level of 313K, this morning’s report was the highest weekly reading since January 9th, but the largest weekly increase in over a year (12/6/13).
With this week’s large increase in the weekly reading, the four week moving average also spiked, rising from 283.25K up to 294.5K. That was the largest increase in the four-week moving average since October 2013! It has now been 17 weeks since the four-week moving average for jobless claims last made a post-recession low. Last week, it got within 5K of a new low (279K), but this week’s large print threw a wrench into that plan.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims only rose by 1K to 280K. Relative to this time of year, this week’s reading was the lowest since 2006 and more than 70K below the historical average of 351.2K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.