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This week’s jobless claims numbers appeared to deteriorate significantly week-over-week but in reality, they actually improved slightly. The perception is that initial jobless claims rose 38k to 368k from 330k week-over-week. While poor in performance, we’re actually right back to where we were 3 weeks ago. In March, we’ll see the strength in the labor market cool off and give way to weakness as April progresses to August.

Jobless Claims: Hidden Improvement - 1

So where’s the hidden gem? The positive ray of hope? Rolling NSA (non-seasonally adjusted) claims. They improved year-over-year by -4.8% this week versus last week’s -4.3% change. The more negative the number, the better as we're measuring the year-over-year change in jobless claims. The seasonality distortion that we’re beginning to experience is perfectly normal; the labor market is not about to fall off a cliff or anything just yet. 

Jobless Claims: Hidden Improvement - 2