Jobless claims came in higher than expected for the second time in a row this week, but the report was still monumental from a historical perspective. While economists were forecasting first time claims to fall to 230K from last week’s higher than expected level of 242K, the actual reading came in at 233K. This week’s print now makes it 162 straight weeks where claims have come in below 300K, surpassing the previous record streak of 161 weeks that ended in April 1970. Given the fact that claims are currently still well below 300K, this could be a streak that lasts for some time.
With claims coming in at over 240K last week and above 230K this week, the four-week moving average has been drifting higher. This week’s reading came in at 230K, which is more than 7K above the multi-decade low of 222.75K that we hit five weeks ago. The way the last two prints have come in, it could be some time before we get back to those previous lows again if we get there at all.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, claims came in at 231.4K. While that’s up from last week’s level of 201K, it is still more than 120K below the average for the current week of the year dating back to 2000. In fact, the last time claims were lower for the current week of the year was back in 1969.