Jobless claims this week jumped to their highest levels of February. While economists were forecasting first-time claims to drop by 2K down to 270K, the actual reading came in at 278K. As shown in the chart below, claims are now right back at that uptrend line they broke to the downside at the start of February. That being said, as long as claims can stay below 300K (as they have been for the last 52 weeks) and not see a sharp spike higher, these levels are positive.
Although claims rose for the second week in a row, the four-week moving average fell from 272K down to 270.25K. This is the lowest level for the 4-week average since late November, but unless claims dip below 270K next week, this measure will start to rise again. The cycle low of 259.25K for the 4-week moving average was back in October, and that may be a low that holds for quite some time.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims rose from 248.9K up to 266.4K. That being said, for the current week of the year, NSA claims are over 90K below their average since 2000.