The U.S. Department of Labour says jobless claims fell to 311,000 last week.
Consensus was for a slight increase to 323,000 from a revised 321,000.
The 4-week moving average was 317,750, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 327,250. The post-recession low is 315,000.
“This is consistent with our expectation that the separation side of the labour market will continue to improve in 2014,” Barclays said.
This not a universal view.
“We are still cautious about calling the data evidence of a real downshift in the trend,” Pantheon Macro’s Iam Shepherdson said in a note.
The seasonals have been quite favourable so we expected a decline this week. Next week’s seasonals look like a stiffer test, and a rebound to 330K would be no surprise. Claims are volatile and it takes more than three good weeks to establish a new trend. Elsewhere, the 0.2% upward revision to Q4 GDP to 2.6% was a ten- th below consensus. Consumption was revised up to 3.3% from 2.6% – we expect sub-2% in Q1 – but investment in business structures was cut to -1.8% from +0.2%; no other significant revisions.
Here’s what the four-week moving average has looked like recently.