Initial jobless claims fell from 372K down to 335K in the last week, hitting their lowest level since January 2008. Looking at the chart below, it is interesting to note that just as claims spiked and then hit a new multi-year low following Hurricane Katrina, they seem to be following a similar path in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. If the pattern continues, look for claims to rise moderately in the next several weeks.
Interestingly, even though weekly claims saw a large drop this week, the four-week moving average did not make a new post-recession low. At a current level of 359.3K, the four-week moving average is still slightly above the low of 359K that we saw two weeks ago. That being said, barring a complete reversal of this week's drop next week, new lows in the four-week moving average are just around the corner.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims rose by less than 3K to 555.7K. While this is much higher than the seasonally adjusted reading, it is typical to see NSA claims near 52-week highs at this time of year. In fact, for the current week NSA claims are at their lowest levels since 2008, and they remain well below their average of 629K for this time of year.