Initial jobless claims remained healthy this week with another sub-200K print.  Claims fell modestly to 191K from last week’s unrevised reading of 192K.  That small decline exceeded expectations of claims rising up to 197K. Given claims continue to impress, the seasonally adjusted number has come in below 200K for 9 of the last 10 weeks. By that measure, it has been the strongest stretch for claims since last April when there were 10 weeks in a row of sub-200K prints.  Prior to that, from 2018 through 2020 the late March and early April period similarly saw consistent readings under 200K meaning that some of the strength in the adjusted number could be on account of residual seasonality.

In fact, this point of the year has some of the weeks in which claims have the most consistently historically fallen week over week. Taking a historical median of claims throughout the year, claims tend to round out a short-term bottom in the spring before an early summer bump. In other words, seasonal strength will begin to wane in the coming months.

While initial claims improved, continuing claims worsened rising to 1.694 million from 1.68 million the previous week.  Albeit higher, that remains below the 2023 high of 1.715 million set at the end of February.

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