Jobless Claims Rise But Remain Near 43-Year Low

The 22,000 initial weekly jobless claims bounce to 259,000 reversed the 12,000 drop to the tightest levels in 4 decades at 237,000 (was 234,000) in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey week, versus prior lean readings of 249,000 in the New Year’s week and 237,000 in the Christmas week. Claims are oscillating above to the 43-year low of 233,000 in the Veteran’s Day week, but well below the 6-month high of 275,000 in mid-December. Holiday volatility generally comes to an end after the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) weekend. Claims, on an non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) basis, fell 70,000 in the MLK week after plunging 62,000 in the prior week, leaving a big two-week reversal of the holiday climb to 412,000 in the week of New Year’s that sat well below the NSA peak of 503,000 in the second week of January last year. Claims are averaging just 248,000 thus far in January, versus higher prior averages of 258,000 in December, 252,000 in November, 258,000 in October, and 254,000 in September. The 237,000 BLS survey week reading sits below the 275,000 December figure and just above the 233,000 BLS survey week figure in November. We previously saw BLS survey week readings of 261,000 in October and 251,000 in September.