Weekly Jobless Claims Keep Looking Great

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported its weekly jobless claims for the week ending September 24. Its preliminary figure was an increase of 3,000 to 254,000 claims. The prior week’s number was revised down by 1,000 to 251,000 from 252,000.

Bloomberg and Dow Jones (Wall Street Journal) both had a consensus estimate of 260,000 for the last week.

As we have become used to seeing week after week now, the BLS said that no special factors had an impact on this week’s initial claims. Another issue to consider is that this marked the 82nd consecutive week of initial claims below 300,000 — the longest streak since 1970.

The BLS also showed that the four-week moving average was down 2,250 to 256,000 claims. That average of multiple weeks aims to smooth out the week-to-week volatility for a clearer picture.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5% for the week ending September 17. That was unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

One key reading we view is the continuing jobless claims, which we refer to as the army of the unemployed. That comes with a one-week lag. Continuing claims during the week ending September 17 was down by some 46,000 to 2,062,000. Here is what stands out on that: the BLS said that this is the lowest level for insured unemployment since July 1, 2000 when it was 2,052,000. The previous week’s level was also revised down by 5,000 from 2,113,000 to 2,108,000.