Initial jobless claims fell again this week after a strong showing last week. On a seasonally adjusted basis, claims are now below 250,000, a level that was last achieved in 1973. Back then, however, the labor force was much, much smaller. In February 1973, 0.292% (29.2 bps) of employed persons filed jobless claims. Incredibly, that number is more like 0.168% (16.8 bps) of employed persons today. That is, it goes without saying, an all-time low dating to the late 1960s when data for initial jobless claims begins. During the 1990s expansion, the low was 0.206% (20.6 bps), while the 2000s had a 0.214% (21.4 bps) low. Below we chart initial jobless claims over the last 10 years.
Below we show initial jobless claims on a four-week moving average basis. Today’s print takes the average down to 260.5k; while that is not a new post-recession low, it’s well below the prior expansion range and it should make a new low next week as a high 276k print rolls off.
Finally, this was also a very strong week for non-seasonally adjusted initial claims, with that data point coming in 81k below the average since 2000 for this week of the year. It’s made a new low for that period and is down versus a year ago.