The latest week’s jobless claims data fell down to 230K from the previous week’s upward revision to 246K.  That 16K decline was the largest week over week drop since the first week of the month and brings claims back down to the low end of the past couple of months’ range.

Before seasonal adjustment, claims were lower reaching 225.84K.  That is roughly inline with the comparable weeks of last year and the few years prior to the pandemic.  As shown in the second chart below, a drop in the current week of the year has very much been the norm historically.  As for 2023 as a whole, unadjusted claims have remained relatively flat following the steep seasonal decline in the first weeks of the year. The potential for further seasonal strength will remain in place for the next few weeks as claims historically have reached a seasonal low in late May.

Like initial claims, seasonally adjusted continuing claims also surprised with a decline this week.  Continuing claims totaled 1.858 million in the most recent week, down from 1.865 million and better than the expected increase to 1.87 million.  Albeit the latest week’s reading was surprisingly strong, the indicator’s uptrend remains firmly in place which as we noted in last week’s Bespoke Report, the overall rise in continuing claims has resembled other recessionary periods.

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