Today’s release of jobless claims for the latest week was nothing short of impressive. While economists were expecting claims to rise from 262K up to 278K, at a level of 265K they only rose by 3K. As shown in the chart below, the downtrend for jobless claims continues, and this week’s reading is the first time we have seen back to back sub-270K readings in jobless claims in more than 15 years.
In last week’s update, we noted that although the four-week moving average in claims did not make a new post-recession low, any reading below 280K this week would take us to new lows. That we did, and now the four-week moving average is at its lowest level in 15 years. Over the next two weeks we will be dropping two readings above 290K, so barring any spike, we should see another post-recession low next week.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, initial claims fell 15K to 235.7K. Even more impressive is the fact that for the current week of the year, this reading is the lowest since 1973. Yes, you read that correctly- 1973!