While the overall mood of the markets is weak this morning, jobless claims were a relative bright spot. While economists were expecting first-time claims to rise to 272K, the actual reading came in at 267K. While this was up 3K from last week, it is still extremely low relative to history. For example, claims have now been under 300K for 29 weeks. That’s the longest weekly streak of sub-300K readings since 1973! Back then, claims were below 300K for 4 straight weeks.
This week’s low reading helped to push the four-week moving average of claims down to 271.75K from last week’s level of 272.5K. This now puts this measure within 6K of the cycle low of 266K that we saw seven weeks ago in early August.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims rose by nearly 21K to 219.6K from last week’s sub 200K reading, which was the lowest since 1973. Despite the increase, for the current week of the year NSA claims are nearly 90K below their average of 309K.