After some poor economic data relative to expectations on Wednesday, Thursday started off on a positive note with jobless claims coming in much lower than expected. While economists were expecting first time claims to rise slightly to 290K from last week's level of 287K, they actually declined by 23K to 264K. This represents the lowest weekly reading since April 2000.
With this week's decline, the four-week moving average fell by more than 4K down to 283.5K. For this indicator, this represents the lowest level of the current recovery. In fact, to find a lower level you have to go all the way back to June 2000.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA) jobless claims rose by 14K up to 271.6K. That being said, we would note that it is common for claims to rise during this week of the year on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. In fact, like the seasonally adjusted reading, the NSA reading for the current week of the year hasn't been this low since 2000 and is well below the average of 379.3K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.