Time and time again throughout the economic recovery there’s been a pattern that whenever it seems as though economic data is showing cracks, jobless claims come in and bail us out. It happened again this week when Jobless Claims dropped by 19K back down to 238K and below the consensus forecast of 248K. This now makes it 113 straight weeks that claims have been below 300K, and as shown in the chart below, the downtrend that has been in place for several months has once again halted an upward move in claims.
Despite the decline in claims, the four-week moving average actually increased slightly this week, rising from 242.25K up to 243K. That’s still less than 4K off the multi-decade low of 239.75K that we saw ten weeks ago back in February, but it’s going to be a tough slog getting back below that level. However, with claims being as reliable as they have been over the years, we wouldn’t bet against it.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims fell almost 40K down to 211.3K. For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 1973 and more than 115K below the average of 326.5K for the current week dating back to 2000.