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Jobless claims unexpectedly rose again this week, rising by 17K to 268K versus consensus estimates of 253K. This marks the second straight week of increases in the high teens and is the largest two-week increase since the first week of May. Even with the increase, though, jobless claims remain comfortably below 300K as they have for the last 91 weeks! Until claims start nearing 300K, the market is unlikely to worry too much on this front.
One of the more disappointing aspects of this week’s report is that a new low in the four-week moving average is now unlikely in the cards. In this week’s report, the four-week average only increased slightly (from 251K up to 251.5K), but over the coming weeks we will be dropping some much lower readings from the count. Therefore, even a small decline in the moving average down to the cycle low of 249K is unlikely.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims fell by 37.4K to 250.4K. For the current week of the year, this is more than 100K below the average of 363.3 going back to 2000, and it is the lowest reading for the last week of November since 1972, so on the NSA front, it was still a good report.