On a day when the majority of economic data released was weaker than expected, like a loyal dog, jobless claims continue to hang in there. In the latest week, first time claims came in at a level of 260K, representing a 1K increase from the prior week. Relative to expectations, this week’s report was lower than the consensus expectation of 265K. That 265K consensus reading has been in place for nine of the last ten weeks, so it appears as though economists may still be out on summer vacation. As we have noted in most of our recent updates, jobless claims continue to defy the odds and remain depressed below 300K. This week’s print represents the 80th straight week that claims have been below 300K. You have to go all the way back to the early 1970s (when the US population was two-thirds the size of the current level) to find a time when claims were lower for longer.
Even though this week’s print increased slightly, the four-week moving average saw a slight decline, falling from 261.25K down to 260.75K. That puts it within 5K of the cycle low of 256K that we saw 21 weeks ago back in April.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, this week’s jobless claims report was just as impressive. At a level of 193.4K, this week’s print was nearly 100K below the average level for the current week of the year dating back to 2000 and the lowest reading for the current week of the year dating all the way back to 1973.