While there is still a ton of rebuilding and cleanup left in the aftermath of this Summer’s hurricanes, jobless claims have already put the impact of those storms in the rearview mirror. In this week’s report, first-time claims fell to an incredibly low level of 222K compared to expectations for a level of 240K. The last time claims were this low was all the way back in 1973! While the speed with which claims have already reverted back to their pre-hurricane trend seems quick, we would note that following hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012, claims saw similar (although larger) spikes, but quickly reverted back to their pre-storm levels as well.
While weekly claims are at new multi-decade lows, the four-week moving average has naturally been slower to respond. In this week’s report, the four-week moving average dropped from 257.75K down to 248.25K. That’s still more than 10K above the cycle low back in May, but with a reading of 269K dropping off next week and then 258K falling off after that, the four-week moving average is set to sink like a stone.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims fell this week down to 204.8K from 229.3K. That’s more than 120K below the average for the current week of the year dating back to 2000, and you have to go back to 1973 to find a week where NSA claims were lower at this time of year.