The trend in jobless claims continues to be lower. While economists were expecting an already low level of 310K first time claims in today's report, the actual level was 8K lower at 302K. This was the third lowest weekly reading since the recession ended in 2009 and was the lowest reading since early May. While other areas of the economy have shown uneven improvement, the trend in employment recently has shown steady improvement.
With this week's lower than expected reading in weekly claims, the four-week moving average dropped to 309K, and represents a new post-recession low. The prior low of 310.5K was in late May.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), jobless claims rose by 47.1K to 369.6K. While the increase looks large, it is common for claims to increase at this time of year. In fact, for the current week of the year NSA claims were lower than any other week since at least 2000 and well below the average of 471.1K.
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