Jobless claims for the latest week came in significantly stronger than expected, rising from 282K up to 297K. This week's level was also 22K higher than consensus expectations, which according to our Economic Indicator Database, was the biggest miss relative to expectations since early March.
Just to show how unexpected this week's reading was, of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, not a single one predicted a reading above the actual reading. Even after this week's increase in claims, though, we think it is important to note that claims have been below 300K for eighteen straight weeks, which is impressive to say the least.
This week's increase in claims brought the four-week moving average in jobless claims up to 279.5K, which is the highest level since early May, and 13K above the post-recession low of 266.5K that we saw eight weeks ago.
On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, jobless claims rose 29.3K up to 303.9K. For the current week of the year, this is the lowest reading since 2000, and more than 100K below the average of 405K for the current week going back to 2000. Overall, this week's jobless claims reading was weaker than expected, but until we see sustained readings above 300K, the current level of claims is low by historical measures even before taking population growth into account.