Jobless Claims 'Spike' To A 6-Month High

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Jobless claims came in higher than expected this week rising from 254K up to 275K, which is the highest weekly reading since early June, and well above the 257K consensus forecast. It was also tied for the second largest weekly increase in claims since February. It's hard to get too worked up about a jobless claims print at 275K, which is low by historical standards, but anytime you see a sizable increase, you have to be on the lookout for any signs that the overall trend is shifting. As it stands now, claims have been under 300K for 94 straight weeks, but if they start to approach or top that 300K threshold, it may cause some uneasiness.

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The four-week moving average for jobless claims now stands at 263.75K, which is 14.25K above the post-recession low of 249.5K reached eleven weeks ago back in early October. As weekly claims start to trend higher, that sub-250K four-week moving average is looking likelier and likelier to stand for some time.

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On a non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, claims increased to 315.6K from 305.3K. For this time of year, though, this week's NSA print was more than 110K below the average for the current week going back to 2000, and the lowest for the current week of the year since 1969!

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