Jobless claims continue to impress with the latest reading on seasonally adjusted initial claims dropping to 183K which is the lowest level since April 2022.  Claims have now declined in four of the last five weeks and have shown sub-200K prints in each of the past three weeks.

On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims are falling sharply as would be seasonally normal at this point of the year.  In fact, this week and last are two of the weeks of the year that have most consistently seen a lower sequential reading in claims on a historical basis.  As shown in the second chart below, last week has never seen claims move higher week over week while the current week of the year has only seen an increase 9% of the time.  While NSA claims were lower this week, it was not by much with the reading falling from 225.23K to just 224.36K.  The only other time claims have fallen by less than 1K during the comparable week of the year was in 2006. Although the most recent week’s data was not as strong as might be expected given seasonality and that very well could be a result of recent layoffs, claims remain at historically strong levels.

As for continuing claims, which are lagged an additional week to the initial claims number, the latest reading came in at 1.655 million versus expectations for an increase to 1.684 million.  Unlike initial claims, continuing claims are much further above last year’s lows, however, the past several weeks have marked a pause in what had been a steep uptrend that had developed in the back half of last year. Additionally, as for the actual level of claims, the most recent readings remain impressively strong and consistent with pre-pandemic levels that had not been seen in around 50 years. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.

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