It looks like last week's sharp drop in jobless claims was just a mirage. After dropping to a multi-year low last week, initial jobless claims rose 34K to 386K this week, representing the largest one-week increase since April 2011. While investors got excited about last week's sharp decline, this week's increase pretty much erases all the optimism generated from last week's report.
Even after this week's increase, the four-week moving averaged still managed to post a modest decline this week, falling from 377K to 375.5K.
Unfortunately, even the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) reading for jobless claims this week was not very good. NSA claims rose by nearly 11K to 453K from last week's reading of 442.2K. While this was the lowest reading since 2008 for the current week, going back to 2000, the average NSA reading for the current week has been 441K, so the current level is above the historical average for this time of year.
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