It was a big week for initial jobless claims. Versus economist expectations for 230,000, only 215,000 Americans filed initial claims for jobless benefits during the week of March 23rd. That’s a new cycle low and the lowest since the week of January 26, 1973. If claims drop 2,000 per week lower than their current levels, they’ll be back to a spot they haven’t hit in almost 50 years. Given the huge rise in the number of people employed and the overall population in that time period, we’d say that’s a pretty staggering statistic!
The 4-week moving average of claims is a little bit higher than the current reading, and is still a bit above the record lows for that reading set two weeks ago at 221,500. To return to that record low, claims would need to come in at 218k next week.
Finally, claims unadjusted for seasonality are down to 192,400. That compares with a recent average of over 310,000 for this week, and is the lowest NSA reading since the early 1970s.