Jobless claims for the latest week showed a slight increase and came in slightly higher than expected. While economists were expecting claims to come in at 275K, the actual reading came in at 279K, which was up 2K from last week’s reading of 277K. In spite of the increase, initial claims have been below 300K for 14 straight weeks for the first time since 2000 and supports the argument that employment in the United States remains on a solid footing. This is only the fifth time since the mid-1960s that jobless claims have been below the 300K mark for 14 or more weeks, and that is before even taking population growth into account.
As we continue to drop very low numbers from the count, the four-week moving average continues to tick higher. This week’s reading increased by just under 4K to a level of 278.75K. That is 12K above the post-recession low of 266.5K that we saw in mid-May. Unless we get some big declines in the weekly reading, it is unlikely we see a new low any time soon.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims saw a big jump this week, rising from 230.7K up to 274.9K. While that looks large at face value, we would note that it is common for NSA claims to jump in the first week of June. For the current week of the year, this week’s reading was the lowest since 2006, and well below the average of 351K for the current week of the year going back to 2000.