Jobless claims dropped by 21K this week, falling to 283K from last week’s level of 304K and below consensus forecasts for a level of 290K.  This marks the third week in the last four that weekly jobless claims have been below 300K after three weeks to start the year where claims were above 300K.

With another weekly sub 300K reading, the four-week moving average fell by a little over 6K to 283.25K.  Although this is still above the post-recession low of 279K back in late October, the four-week moving average has now declined for four straight weeks from its recent high of 307K.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims fell 45.2K down to 279K.  For the current week of the year, this is the lowest level since at least 2000 and more than 85K below the average of 279K for the current week of the year going back to 2000.

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