This week's take on the labor market is shorter than usual owing to me being on the road.
Labor conditions improved demonstrably this past week, in spite of what the printed number suggests. As the first chart shows, the rolling YoY NSA claims series improved to -9.8%, which is sharply better than the -6.0% and -5.9% readings over the prior two weeks. Remember that a smaller number (i.e. more negative) is better in this instance. This puts the rolling NSA series right back on track with it's longer-term average, meaning that labor conditions are continuing to improve, and at an accelerating rate versus what we saw in December.
Seasonally-adjusted claims "rose" 4k to 371k after last week's print was revised from 372k to 367k. Overall, the seasonally-adjusted series continues to bounce along the 365-375k range it has occupied post Hurricane Sandy renormalization.
Joshua Steiner, CFA