While relegated to the backburner due to the underwhelming stimulus announced by the ECB, we saw another week of solid jobless claims data. Although first-time claims rose by 9K in the latest week, the reported reading of 269K was right on target and represented the 39th consecutive week where weekly claims were below 300K. To find a streak of sub 300K readings as long as that, you have to go all the way back to 1973! Keep in mind too that back then the population was a third smaller than it is now, so a sub 300K reading then would equate to roughly 400K today on a population adjusted basis.
Although the weekly reading increased modestly this week, the four-week moving average saw a slight decline falling from 271K down to 269.25K. That puts the current level 10K above the post-recession low of 259.25K that we saw six weeks ago. In the next two weeks we will be dropping two 270K+ readings, so barring any increases in the weekly reading we should see some slight declines in the four-week moving average.
Finally, on a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims dropped by 42.6K to 262.8K. For the current week of the year, this is more than 125K below the average of 390K going back to 2000. To find a week where the NSA reading for the last week of November was this low, you have to go back 42 years to 1973.