It was a mixed jobless claims report this week as first-time claims rose from extremely low levels and came in higher than expected. While economists were expecting first time claims to come in at a level of 247K, the actual reading came in at 259K. That 22K increase in weekly claims was enough to rank as the largest one-week increase since April 2014. That said, even at 259K, current levels are extremely low by historical standards with the most recent print representing the 99th straight week where claims were below 300K.
While this week saw a large increase in claims, because the number from four weeks ago was even higher, the four-week moving average actually declined to 245.5K from last week’s level of 247.5K. That puts the four-week moving average at its lowest level since November 1973.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, the report was also positive as claims declined another 69.8K down to 280.5K. For the current week of the year, that’s the lowest reading since 1969, and is more than 137K below the average of 418K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.