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.
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.