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Initial Claims Surprise to the Downside

While Q4 GDP was not revised as high as most economists were expecting, initial jobless claims came in considerably lower than expected.  While the consensus was expecting a level of 360K, the actual reading came in at 344K, representing a drop of 22K from last week's level.  Weekly claims readings have been rather volatile in the last thirteen weeks, bouncing around from the 330K range up to the 370K range, but it is nice to see this week's reading near the lower end of that range.

With this week's decline, the four-week moving average dropped by nearly 7K down to 355K.  This is just 4K above the post-recession low of 351K that we saw on February 1st.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, jobless claims dropped to 307.6K.  This is the lowest reading for the current week of the year since 2007, and it's below the average of 361K for the current week dating back to 2000.  In fact, going back to 2000, there have only been three other years where claims for the current week were lower than they were this week (2005, 2006, 2007).