Initial claims fell 8k to 470k last week, down from 478k the prior week (revised down 4k). On a rolling 4-week basis, average initial claims rose 9k to 457k from 448k and are up 15k in the last two weeks. While the rolling number remains within the channel of improvement shown in the following chart, it is moving to the upper band of that channel quickly. Given the historical tendency for this seasonally adjusted data to trend up in mid-to-late January we will give it the benefit of the doubt for now that the longer-term trend lower remains in place, but we think the next month's worth of data will be very important. it's definitely time to pay attention.
Joshua Steiner, CFA