After a much larger than expected increase last week, jobless claims pulled back this week and by an even larger amount than economists were expecting.  With the consensus expecting first-time claims to come in at a level of 281K, the actual reading came in at 278K.  While this week’s decline is welcome, the uptrend of higher highs and higher lows that has been in place since last October remains intact.

012816 Initial Claims SA

This week’s drop in claims helped to push the four-week moving average down to 283K from 285.25K, which was the highest level since last March.  At this week’s level, the four-week moving average is now 23.75K above its post-recession low of 259.25K from last October.  Given the way claims have been coming in, that’s a level that doesn’t look like it will be seen again anytime soon.

012816 Initial Claims SA 4 WK

On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims fell to 296.8K.  While we have been used to hearing recently that the NSA readings for claims are at multi-decade lows for the specific time of year, this week’s NSA reading was actually above last year’s level of 281.9K.  That said, it was still more than 100K below the average of 400K for the current week going back to 2000.

012816 Initial Claims NSA

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