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Takeaway: The initial jobless claims number will soon face headwinds but that doesn’t mean the labor market is weakening.

Today’s initial jobless claims number of 340,000 beat expectations, and the rolling four-week number hit their best level in five years. That said, this is a seasonally adjusted number, which could face some headwinds in coming months.

A number that tells a truer story of the overall picture of the labor market is the non-seasonally adjusted number. In the chart below, take a look at the purple line, which shows rolling claims from September through February.  You’ll see that the non-seasonally adjusted claims number is declining at an accelerating rate. It’s also reaching levels much lower than claims have hit in the past few years.

Headwinds For Initial Jobless Claims? - JOBSCLAIMS