The US job market just did something it hasn't done in 46 years

US initial jobless claims fell more than expected.

Claims came in at 262,000, below economists’ expectations of a slight dip to 265,000.

Claims have now been below 300,000 for 76 straight weeks — the longest streak since 1970.

As Jefferies’ Chief Financial Economist Ward McCarthy noted, there have been only three times since 1980 that claims came in below 300,000 for a substantial period of time:

  • September 1988 to February 1989
  • February 1999 to October 2000
  • January 2006 to April 2006

“Even under the healthiest labour market conditions, claims simply have not consistently come in materially lower than 300K for any length of time,” he wrote. “The current streak of sub-300K claims is remarkable, but it looks as though it is likely to persist.”

But “claims are currently at a very low level relative to the size of the labour force. Consequently, claims are unlikely to decline much further from current levels,” he added.

The four-week moving average was 265,250, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 262,750.

Last week, claims rose to 266,000 — slightly above the forecast of 265,000.

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