Jobless claims have been strong for some time now, but this week’s report was strong, even relative to recent trends.  While economists were forecasting first time claims to come in at 245K, the actual reading was 12K lower at 233K, which is tied for the second lowest weekly reading of the entire expansion.  Claims have now been at or below 250K for seven straight weeks and below 300K for an astonishing 124 weeks.
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With this week’s decline, the four-week moving average dropped down to 243.75K from last week’s reading of 246K.  While the four-week moving average has now gone nine weeks without making a new low, it is currently just 8.25K above that multi-decade low from mid-May.  A few more weeks like this week’s report and we may just get there.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims dropped 28.1K down to 256.6K from last week’s level of 284.7K.  That’s more than 159K below the average of 416K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000. More importantly, the last time claims were this low for the current week of the year was 49 years ago in 1968!
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