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Jobless Claims Lower Than Expected

For the fourth time in the last five weeks, jobless claims came in below forecasts this week.  While economists were forecasting a level of 304K, the actual reading came in 15K weaker at 289K.  This was the second lowest weekly reading of the recovery, behind only the 279K level we saw two weeks ago.  As we have said numerous times in the last several weeks, while other economic indicators have been showing mixed results recently, jobless claims have remained firm.

With this week's decline, the four-week moving average dropped to post-recession low of 293.5K, which is the lowest level since February 2006.  This is the fourth straight week that we have seen a new low in the four-week moving average and just further underscores how strong jobless claims have been of late.

The most impressive part of Thursday's jobless claims report, though, was the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) number.  At a level of 247.1K, this was the lowest weekly NSA reading for the current week of the year in at least 25 years, and well below the average of 324.6K for the current week dating back to 2000.  It's hard to get much better than that.

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