After two weeks where computer upgrades in a couple of states reportedly skewed the data to the downside, this week's release of jobless claims was supposed to show an increase. Heading into the report, economists were expecting claims to rise to 325K from last week's level of 309K. The reality, however, was that claims actually declined to 305K, which was the second lowest level since the Financial Crisis. Additionally, the BLS noted in the release that computer issues that may have skewed the figures in the last two weeks were no longer an issue.
With this week's decline, the four-week moving average made a new post-recession low of 308K, which is the lowest reading since June 2007. Barring an increase above 323K next week, we would expect to see the four-week moving average decline again next week.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, initial claims declined by 19.2K down to 253.7K. For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 2007. It is also well below the historical average of 313K for the current week of the year dating back to 2000.