After being the only people who were caught off guard by last week’s hurricane-induced surge in jobless claims, economists upped their estimates for first-time claims this week and, not surprisingly, overshot in their forecasts. While the consensus estimate spiked up to 310K, the actual reading fell from 298K down to 284K. For now, at least, the streak of weeks (132) below 300K remains intact. At first glance, one would think the jobless claims reading should be higher given the one-two punch of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but what needs to be kept in mind is the fact that this week’s print was through 9/8, so it doesn’t quite include the impacts of Irma on Florida. Irma’s impact is likely to show up next week.
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With two straight weeks of elevated readings, even the four-week moving average is starting to rise. This week’s reading ticked up to 263.25K from 250.25K, which is close to 30K above the post recession low of 235.5K from back in mid-May.