Weekly jobless claims were reported by the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday morning as 294,000. This reading was against a Bloomberg estimate of 295,000. The previous level was unchanged at 297,000, so no revision was necessary this week. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expected 300,000 new claims.
As a result, the four-week moving average came in at 299,250, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average. The four-week moving average evens out the volatile weekly data. As the four-week moving average has now held below 300,000 since mid-September, this marks the longest stretch that it has held at this level dating back to 2000.
No special factors impacted this week’s initial claims.
Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, came in up 142,000 from the prior report at 2.51 million for the week ended November 29. Continuing claims were at its lowest level since December 2000, when they totaled 2.263 million when weekly jobless claims were reported on November 26.
The markets have reacted positively to strong retail sales data and after three days of selling, but all in all this weekly jobless claims report should not have been enough to move the needle in either direction.