Weekly Jobless Claims Now Under 300,000 for 79 Consecutive Weeks

Jon C. Ogg

The U.S. Department of Labor has released another low reading on weekly jobless claims. In the week ending September 3, seasonally adjusted initial claims were 259,000. This represents a decrease of 4,000 from the prior week’s 263,000 reading. That makes the report 5,000 lower than the 264,000 consensus estimate from Bloomberg and 6,000 lower than the 265,000 consensus estimate from Dow Jones’ Wall Street Journal.

As usual, the Labor Department said that no special factors had an impact on this week’s initial claims. One more consideration here is that this marks 79 consecutive weeks in which jobless claims have come in below 300,000, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed to be the longest streak since 1970.

The four-week moving average was 261,250, down some 1,750 from the prior week’s reading of 263,000.

Other data come with a one-week lag:

  • The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6% for the week ending August 27, unchanged from the previous week.
  • The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment or the continuing claims was 2,144,000 during the week ending August 27. This was down 7,000 from the prior week’s revised level (revised down by 8,000 from 2,159,000 to 2,151,000).

With most eyes on a lack of new quantitative easing from the European Central Bank, this weekly jobless claims report is largely being ignored. One consideration to keep in mind is that weekly jobless claims reports are likely to be ignored until they start changing direction in a meaningful way.