Weekly Jobless Claims came in unchanged this week for the first time since last September when claims were at 212K in back to back weeks. Initial jobless claims came in at 230 versus forecasts of 215K. Looking back on April, it was a bit of a split month when it comes to this indicator as the first couple weeks came in at 50-year lows while this week and last’s 230K prints were the joint highest readings since early February.
While the past two week’s readings are higher than what we have seen in the past couple of months, it is once again too early to call it any kind reversal higher, especially in the context of these recent lows. Rather, jobless claims have more or less just been steady over the past year, sitting between a range of 210K and 235K for most of this time. Overall, while claims haven’t yet been able to hold the sharp moves lower, employment still appears healthy with the streak of claims coming in below 250K now at 68 weeks while the streak below 300K is at a record 217 weeks.
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The four week moving average for seasonally adjusted claims did see a change this week, rising to 212.5K from 206K last week. Similar to the weekly numbers, the four-week moving average is off of recent multi-year lows (from only a couple weeks ago) but at the same time not necessarily at any sort of concerning highs sitting right around where it was headed into April.
Non-seasonally adjusted claims data ticked down to 204K from 211.8K last week. This print is well below the average for the current week since 2000 but is not as low as we saw for the current week last year. For the same week last year, claims came in at 186.5K. This is the second week in a row that this has happened and the seventh week so far this year that NSA claims have increased YoY. For context, the last time a year saw this happen more was in 2016, when there were ten weeks of year over year increases through the whole year, not just through April!