Jobless claims for the latest week dropped back down below 260K for the first time since mid-July this week. While economists were forecasting first-time claims to rise by 2K to 265K (sixth straight week where expectations were 265K), the actual reading showed a decline of 4K to 259K. The big headline, however, is the fact that claims have now been below 300K for 79 straight weeks, and as we have repeatedly noted in prior weeks, that is the longest streak since 1970.
With this week’s decline, the four-week moving average in jobless claims fell to 261.25K from 263K last week. That puts the current level just over 5K above the multi-decade low of 256K that we saw 20 weeks ago back in April. It’s going to be hard to get back down to that level but you never know.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims increased by 3.2K up to 218.3K. That is more than 80K below the average for the current week of the year since 2000. In fact, to find a year where claims were lower for the current week of the year, you have to go all the way back to 1973.